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Merrill Edge rating

Merrill Edge Cons and Pros


Merrill Lynch/Edge pros and cons, benefits and downsides, perks offered. Is Merrill Edge good or bad? Merrill Edge individual/joint account advantages and disadvantages for 2020.



Overview of Merrill Edge Pros And Cons


Merrill Edge is a low-cost broker owned by Merrill Lynch, a division of Bank of America. Let's take an in-depth look at this discount brokerage firm and evaluate Merrill Edge cons and pros.


Merrill Edge Pros


- Merrill Edge has no surcharges on penny stock trades, orders with 1,000 shares or more as well as on orders executed during extended-hours trading.

- The broker provides free dividend reinvestment plans on securities.

- Customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes both investment and technical representatives. Other brokers, such as Vanguard, don't have 24/7 service.

- The research and educational tools at Merrill Edge are some of the best in the industry. They are much better than what is available at Wellstrade, for example.

- The firm has a network of investment advisors across the United States, called Financial Solutions Advisors. They are located inside Bank of America branches.

- Mutual funds with a transaction fee are $19.95 to trade. This fee is quite a bit lower than what other firms charge. Transaction fee funds at Fidelity, for example, cost $49.95.

- Accounts with this broker have no minimum opening deposit or minimum balance requirement.

- IRA's also have no minimum balance requirement and no annual account fee. An IRA with Merrill Edge would be ideal for small investors looking to gradually build up a nest egg.

- Merrill Edge offers several attractive cash management features. A brokerage account can be used with checks and a Visa debit card. Withdrawals at Bank of America ATM's are free of charge. The broker also reimburses its clients up to $200 for non-Bank of America ATM's annually.

- The broker's trading tools include a trade ticket at the bottom of the web browser called TradeBar. It's very useful and makes order entry quick and easy.

- The broker has an app for Apple Watch.

- The firm has good offerings of fixed-income products, including Treasuries, CD's, and secondary bonds. An effective fixed-income screener is also available.


Merrill Edge Cons, Pros


Merrill Edge Cons


- Merrill Lynch has a history of poor judgment and money mismanagement. The company almost went bankrupt in 2008 and got rescued at the last moment by the U.S. government forcing Bank of America to buy it.

- The firm charges high commissions on mutual funds comparing to some competitors: $19.95 per transaction versus $9.95 charged by Ally Invest .

- If customer sells mutual fund in 90 days or less after purchasing it, he or she will be charged short-term redemption fee of $39.95.

- Another one of the Merrill Edge cons is that even in this low interest rates environment the firm charges high margin rates.

- There are numerous technical issues at the firm, such as unusable login cards, website going down, etc.

- Investors at Merrill Edge have slightly more than 4,000 mutual funds to trade. Of these, less than 900 have no load and no transaction fee. This pales in comparison to many other brokers. For example, Ally Invest offers its clients over 12,000 mutual funds.

- The broker charges 0.45% of assets annually to use its Merrill Guided Investing robo-advisor service which will cost an investor a fortune over time. In contrast, Ally Invest Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio has $0 fees.

- The firm's mobile app does not have streaming business news. Other brokers, such as TD Ameritrade, provide streaming financial news at no cost.


Merrill Edge Cons and Pros Assessment


Merrill Edge is a good choice for investors who want great education and research tools. Active stock, ETF, and option traders will be better served with Webull. Investors who want to buy mutual funds, should take a look at the Ally Invest.