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Merrill Edge DRIP: Dividend Reinvestment Program


2019 Merrill Lynch dividend reinvestment program fees and setup. Bank of America Merrill Edge DRIP plan on stocks, ETF's, and mutual funds. Is it free?



Merrill Edge DRIP Plans


Stocks and ETF’s sometimes pay cash dividends. When this happens, some brokers will allow you to reinvest this money in additional shares of the security that pays the distribution; although not all broker-dealers provide this service. Merrill Edge does, and the brokerage house charges nothing for it.


Setting up a DRIP at Merrill Edge


Merrill Edge has created a very convenient way to manage the DRIP settings for each security in your account. You can adjust these settings all by yourself simply by going to ‘Help & Support’ in the top menu of the broker’s website and choosing ‘Dividend Reinvestment Settings’ under ‘Account Preferences.’

You will first need to select your brokerage account from the drop down menu that says, ‘Please select an account.’ If you have more than one account, you have to establish DRIP settings for each one.

The default setting is for cash payments for all securities in an account. This can be changed to reinvest dividends for specific equities, or reinvest dividends for all securities in an entire account.


Merrill Edge Mutual Funds DRIP


The same form can be used to establish reinvestment settings for mutual funds. Merrill Edge also provides reinvestment settings on its mutual fund order form. Distributions can be paid in cash, capital gains only can be reinvested, or both dividends and capital gains can be reinvested.


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DRIP Policies at Merrill Edge


Unlike the broker’s mutual funds, stocks and ETF’s do not have a dividend reinvestment option on the equity order page. Trades for these securities must settle before you can add a DRIP setting.

Purchasing additional shares of a security will not alter its distribution settings. You can change DRIP settings after the trade settles if you wish.

If you own shares of the same security in multiple accounts, you’ll have to specify reinvestment settings for that security within each account.

Be sure to update your DRIP settings before the record date of a dividend. Your request will not be honored for the upcoming payment if the request is received after the record date.

Altering reinvestment settings for optional or special dividends will not impact these types of distributions. You should contact Merrill Edge directly to specify your preference for these cash payments.


Withdrawing Cash Distributions


If you decide to take dividends in cash, you can easily withdraw the funds from a Merrill Edge account using a variety of methods. One is to request a Visa debit card for your brokerage account and withdraw funds using the card at a point-of-sale terminal or an ATM. The broker offers debit cards free of charge. Checkwriting is also available.


Automatic Investment Plan


If you want to grow your investments even more, you could add an automatic investment to a security. Merrill Edge offers dollar-cost averaging and automatic investment plans. In addition to reinvesting dividends and capital gains, you would make regular purchases, typically on a monthly basis.


Other DRIP Plans


Other online broker dividend reinvestment plans for 2019 are listed under this link.


Merrill Edge Review


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Merrill Edge Overview


Merrill Edge, a discount brokerage operated by Merrill Lynch, provides a wide range of financial services, all at low cost to the investor. Let's take a look at what the broker delivers in the realm of mutual fund investing, and see how the firm stacks up against its competitors.

Customers could buy 102 Vanguard mutual funds at Merrill Edge, including Vanguard index funds, target retirement funds and balanced funds.

Merrill Edge has a fund screener with several criteria to make searching easy and accurate. Criteria include asset class, load type, performance, R-squared, dividend yield, return versus category, and many more. Another criterion users can select is Morningstar category. Many fund categories are available, such as consumer defensive, bank loans, Latin American stock, global real estate, and mid-cap blend. A search in the world bond category returns 54 funds. Some of these have a rating of 5 from Lipper and come with no load and no transaction fee. Results from a screen can be sorted by various criteria, such as risk, performance, and expenses. Screens can be saved, which helps make future searches quicker.

Pre-defined screens are also available. Investors can select from a variety of options, including target-date funds, index funds, and socially-responsible funds.

A small pop-up window appears after hovering over a ticker symbol in a screener's results. Vital data is shown in the window. These data include most recent NAV, a small chart, load and transaction fee status, expense ratio, and more. There are also buttons for placing a trade and more detailed research.

Clicking on a fund's ticker takes the user to the fund's profile page. On this page, the prospectus can be found along with more vital information. Charts, performance, holdings, risk, and expenses can be studied in more detail here.


Merrill Edge DRIP


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The charting tools for mutual funds at Merrill Edge are decent. A fund's price history can be compared to a stock, economic sector, or index. Different graph styles can be chosen, including OHLC, candlesticks, line, and mountain.





A mobile app is available for Merrill Edge clients at no cost. Unfortunately, mutual fund trades can't be placed on it. Limited research on funds is possible, however.


Summary


Despite its small mutual fund list, Merrill Edge has excellent research tools. Investors who want the best trading tools and investment research with the same pricing as Merrill Edge should consider TD Ameritrade.