UBS vs Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab in 2023

UBS vs Fidelity & Others: Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Chase $0 $0 na $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) 13.75% $0 $0
Fidelity $0 $49.95 12.575% $0 $0
Charles Schwab $0 up to $74.95 12.575% $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 13.2% $0 $0
Vanguard $0 $20 12.75% $20* $20*
UBS varies varies varies $170 $170

UBS vs Vanguard & Others: Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade
Charles Schwab

A Comparison of UBS to the Leading Discount Brokerages

UBS AG (originally Union Bank of Switzerland) is a Swiss global financial services company that provides wealth management services to high net worth individuals. Comparing UBS to discount brokerages is like comparing a Mercedes-Benz to a Toyota Corolla, but a comparison will illustrate the differences between a full-service broker that caters to the wealthiest clients and discount brokers that cater to the average investor.

UBS investing


For equity trades, UBS has a complex commission schedule that bases commissions on the dollar amount of the trade, rather than a flat rate fee per trade. For example, a 100-share trade of a $5 stock or ETF is charged the greater of 5% of the principal ($25) or $0.10/share ($1). Therefore, this trade will cost $25, the greater amount.

Buying a large block of an expensive stock—let's say 1,000 shares purchased at $100/share, a $100,000 trade—will cost the greater of 0.90% of the principal ($900) plus $425 ($1325 total), or $0.10/share ($100). Therefore, this trade will cost the greater amount, $1325.

UBS notes that these are maximum commissions and discounts may apply, but they aren't specific about the size of the discounts. They also charge customers a $5.25 processing and handling fee per transaction.

In contrast, these two example trades would cost $0 if purchased through JP Morgan Chase.

Mutual funds through UBS are all load funds, so those commissions are determined by share class purchased, amount invested, and any back-end loads or redemption fees that may be assessed. For all fund purchases, a $5.25 processing and handling fee is charged per transaction.

The discount brokers usually emphasize no-load mutual funds, but their commissions on mutual funds transactions vary widely from as little as $0 at Chase Invest to as much as $49.95 at Charles Schwab.

Options trades with UBS are pricey as well. On a trade valued at $500, say five contracts purchased for $100 each, the commission is 2.25% of the principal value ($11.25) plus a fixed dollar amount of $39 in this pricing bracket, plus $7.50/contract ($37.50), for a total of $87.75. Thankfully, UBS puts a cap on commissions at every price bracket, so this trade will cost only $46. For a larger trade, say 10 options contracts worth $5,000, the commission will be 1.75 % of the value ($87.50), plus an $80.75 fixed dollar fee, plus $7.50 per contract ($75). Total cost = $243.25. The cap on this bracket, trades valued from $5,000-$19,999, is $1,841.

Once again, discount brokers easily beat those rates. The most expensive commission for the first example, the $500 trade, will be through Vanguard, at $1/contract, or $5.00. Option pricing leader Chase will do the same trade for $2.50.


Since UBS charges steep commissions compared to discount brokers, one would assume they provide superior service for those extra commission dollars. They do offer extensive financial planning and other advisory services related to education, long-term care, retirement, and estate planning. They also offer banking services such as credit cards, mortgages, and cash management. Other than the full-service financial advisor feature, many discount brokers offer most of the other services for little or no cost.

Of course, UBS focuses on high-net-worth clients, those with at least $250,000 in UBS accounts. These clients receive personalized service from a dedicated financial advisor and a client service associate. Those services are usually offered on a retainer basis, meaning clients may consult with their advisors as often as they like for no extra charges other than commissions and fees paid for investment products.

However, UBS has only a three-star rating for customer service, which implies that the company isn't as responsive and helpful to their customers as the better discount brokers are. JP Morgan Chase, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab all received five-star ratings for customer service.


UBS gears its business for the wealthiest clients and don't directly compete with the discount brokers. That doesn't mean they aren't a good company. For clients with a lot of money and little investing or financial expertise, one-on-one financial planning and advising is a better option than do-it- yourself investing through a discount broker.

Each discount broker has its own strengths and weaknesses too. JP Morgan Chase is the clear winner in this group for lowest commissions. Vanguard lags when it comes to trading tools and research, but is strong with its own funds and ETFs as well as offering excellent commission discounts to customers with high account balances.

Mutual fund investors will want to avoid the commissions charged by Fidelity and Charles Schwab if they actively trade funds. TD Ameritrade features the best trading tools, especially their professional trading platform, Thinkorswim. JP Morgan Chase has a combination of excellent customer service, and easy-to-use trading screens, which makes both good brokers for beginning investors.

The bottom line is no one broker is perfect for everyone. Each investor must find the broker that best suits their trading style, experience, and budget.

New Account Promotions

JP Morgan Chase: Get up to $700 when you fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account.

Open JP Morgan Account

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Open TD Ameritrade Account

Etrade: Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.

Open Etrade Account

About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.