Wellstrade rating

Wells Fargo Brokerage (WellsTrade) Review

WellsTrade Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $5.95
Stocks and ETFs (broker assisted) $30.95
Options $5.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds $35
Auction of Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds $50 per transaction

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs
Wellstrade minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesWellstrade fees

WellsTrade Offers Many Investment Services

Wells Fargo’s low-cost on-line brokerage unit WellsTrade provides many services that securities traders will find appealing. Different types of investments can be traded, and customer service is available for clients who need it. But the broker-dealer struggles in certain areas compared to some of its rivals. Let’s review Wells Fargo invetsment service and determine what its strengths and weaknesses are.

Opening a New WellsTrade Account

The Wells Fargo site is where the WellsTrade service is located. There is a informational page there on opening a WellsTrade account along with a link to start the application process. Once you click on the appropriate link to open an account, you’ll be given the opportunity to login to a pre-existing Wells Fargo account if you have one. If not, you select either individual or joint for the account type, fill in all the necessary information, and your account will be opened in a few days.

Wells Fargo Mutual Funds and ETF’s

The WellsTrade site has tools that will assist mutual fund traders in finding a security to buy. Typing in a ticker symbol produces a fund profile page with a lot of useful information. Morningstar ratings, return history, holdings, load status, and transaction-fee status are all displayed. A chart shows a fund’s price history, and an interactive chart can also be selected. A fund’s profile page also has a link to the most recent prospectus. An alert can be set, and a fund can be added to a watchlist.

Wells Trade review

If you don’t have a particular fund in mind, the WellsTrade mutual fund screener is a good way to browse through all the funds the brokerage firm offers. The basic screener can search based on criteria such as return and risk profiles, asset class, and fund family. The advanced screener adds more criteria, such as minimum investment, turnover ratio, and manager tenure.

Using either screener produces 9,507 mutual funds that are available for purchase by new investors. From this list, there are 2,393 products that have neither load nor transaction fee. Results can be sorted by many different criteria, including some that weren’t selected for the screen.

ETF traders haven’t been left out of the picture, either. Just as with mutual funds, an ETF ticker symbol can be entered in the search field, which will produce a profile page. And there are two ETF screeners, basic and advanced. One difference is that Lipper ratings instead of Morningstar ratings are used for ETF’s.

WellsTrade Website/Trading Platform/Tools


The trading tools available to WellsTrade customers are on the slim side. The brokerage house does not have a desktop platform; so the website is the only method of trading on a desktop or laptop. The website itself has no trade bar.

Besides the screeners already mentioned, there are search tools for bonds and stocks on WellsTrade’s site. Option chains are available for stocks and ETF’s, but the program only displays calls and puts. There are no advanced derivative strategies.

After entering a ticker symbol in the search field in the top menu, a small window appears below the field with brief information about the security. This window has a trade button. The more detailed profile page also has a trade button.

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Clicking on the trade button produces a new web page with an order ticket. There is a small calculator icon next to the shares field, which translates trade amount into number of shares based on current share price. Order types include just limit, market, stop, and stop limit. Time in force options include day and GTC.

Interactive charting is available on the WellsTrade site. There are many drawing tools, including ellipses, rays, and Fibonacci circles. Graph styles include dots, candlesticks, and more. Technical studies include Linear Regression, Money Flow, and MACD. A security’s price action can be compared to an index or a stock. Regrettably, a graph cannot be detached into a separate window, nor can one be displayed full screen.

Advanced Trading Platform

The company has no desktop trading platform. Many brokers nowadays do have a desktop system, including TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab.

Mobile App

The Wells Fargo mobile app is used for both investment and bank accounts. The platform can be used on both Android and Apple phones and tablets. Some of the available features for brokerage customers include market indices (both U.S. and foreign), news articles from the Associated Press, market movers, alerts, and a watchlist. Paper checks can be deposited using the app.

Stocks and ETF’s have detailed profiles on the mobile app, although the information is more limited compared to the website. Dividend information is displayed, along with EPS, 52-week price range, and bid and ask prices. Option chains are also available.

The app can be used to buy and sell mutual funds, options, stocks, and ETF’s. Many of the trade ticket features on the website are also on the mobile app. For example, the calculator icon is on the mobile platform.

Wells Fargo brokerage account review

WellsTrade Pricing and Account Requirements

WellsTrade recently updated its pricing schedule. Stock and ETF transactions now cost just $5.95. Clients who are enrolled in Portfolio by Wells Fargo receive a very nice $3 discount per trade. To qualify for this status, the financial company requires a $30 monthly fee, or $25,000 in bank deposits, or $50,000 in bank and brokerage balances.

The broker’s mutual fund transaction fee is $35. Fixed-income Treasury securities are $50 per transaction. Other bonds are priced on a markup/markdown basis. WellsTrade offers live agents who can help clients place a trade over phone, and this service tacks on an extra $25.

Option contracts cost 75¢ each on top of a $5.95 base charge. There is no discount on the base charge. Assignments and exercises can only be performed over the phone with a representative, which increases the cost.

WellsTrade has eliminated its old inactivity fee, and replaced it with a $30 annual household fee. It can be avoided by signing up for electronic delivery of account documents. The broker does charge $95 to transfer an account.

Investment Advice and Portfolio Management

Wells Fargo Advisors, an affiliated company, provides financial advice and portfolio management for an extra fee. The company does not publish what this fee costs, however. Many Wells Fargo brick-and-mortar locations have at least one financial advisor, and these branches are scattered throughout the United States. WellsTrade currently does not provide these services, although the broker is developing a robo-advisory service that is schedule for release sometime in 2018.

Research and Education

WellsTrade’s site has some helpful learning materials, although there aren’t very many of them. An in-depth page on financial markets is available by going to ‘Research’ in the top menu and then selecting ‘Markets.’ Besides stock indexes, information on commodities, interest rates, and currencies are shown. Clicking on one of the items produces a more detailed graph.

Detailed reports in pdf format are available from Wells Fargo Securities. These discuss economic issues, such as individual stocks and economic sectors. There are 113 analysts who write these reports. All of them are free of charge. Another useful report is the Core List Strategy, a list of blue chip stocks that Wells Fargo analysts are bullish on. These recommendations can be downloaded free of charge as well.

Unfortunately, there are no videos on the WellsTrade site. Also missing are stock reports from third parties and educational tools on how to trade. For example, there are no articles on what options are or what NAV means. Beginners wouldn’t do well here.

Customer Service

A WellsTrade associate can be reached by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While this is certainly a convenient service, the brokerage firm does not offer an on-line chat feature, which would be. Moreover, there are no WellsTrade branch locations, which leaves investors with just the phone. Surprisingly, the WellsTrade site does not have an internal messaging function. Although many Wells Fargo Bank branches do have an investment advisor inside, this service is not for general customer service. It is only for customers who have elected to pay for portfolio management.


WellsTrade offers Individual Retirement Accounts in three forms: Roth, Traditional, and SEP. The SEP version is designed for small business owners and self-employed persons. The Roth and Traditional accounts have the $30 annual fee, and it can be avoided using the same method available to taxable accounts. Households that have only a SEP account don’t have to pay the annual fee. WellsTrade charges a $95 termination fee for closing an IRA.

There are many target-date funds available at WellsTrade. These are designed for retirement savers. The target-date is the time when retirement is expected to start. Some of the available fund families include Vanguard and T. Rowe Price. And of course, Wells Fargo Advisors can assist clients with retirement planning.

Banking Features

WellsTrade offers cash management tools, but only at high price. The Wells Fargo command account will function as a core cash position, but it costs $100 per year. It does come with checks and a debit card. One way around this is to open an independent Wells Fargo checking or savings account, which can easily be linked to the WellsTrade investment account.

WellsTrade Review: Pros

WellsTrade’s commission schedule offers a deep discount to Wells Fargo customers with significant assets. Other brokerage houses provide no discounts at all. These firms include Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments.

The mutual fund selection at WellsTrade is larger than what’s available at several of its rivals. Merrill Edge and Schwab, for example, provide fewer funds. WellsTrade’s mutual fund search tools are also very good.

It’s nice to have customer service available around the clock. Several brokerage firms today don’t have this luxury. Vanguard and Robinhood are two examples.

WellsTrade Review: Cons

WellsTrade doesn’t offer any commission-free ETF’s. This is a major failure in an era where many brokerage firms do provide at least some exchange-traded funds that are free to trade. TD Ameritrade offers the richest selection, and the lowest-cost Firstrade also has a small list.

The WellsTrade order form only offers four order types. This is a smaller number, and many brokers have software that provides many more. TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform has 8, and TradeStation’s desktop platform has no less than 20 different order types.

There are just two time-in-force choices on the WellsTrade order ticket. TradeStation, by comparison, offers twelve.

WellsTrade’s mobile app doesn’t have live streaming of business news or advanced charting. TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim mobile platform has both for free. E*Trade charges for live streaming of CNBC.

The lack of a desktop trading platform, a browser-based platform, and a browser-based trading ticket are all failures at WellsTrade. Other brokers do offer these products, and oftentimes at no charge. Interactive Brokers has a desktop platform, TradeStation has a browser-based platform, and Merrill Edge has a sophisticated trading ticket.

WellsTrade’s IRA selection is rather small. Other brokers, such as Vanguard, offer more account types. Firstrade charges nothing to close an IRA.


Traders who need advanced technology will be especially disappointed at WellsTrade. Option traders don’t have good resources, either, and the broker’s IRA selection underperforms compared to many other brokers. On the other hand, Wells Fargo customers who have at least $25,000 on deposit with the bank receive excellent commissions with the brokerage unit. And mutual fund traders will find a great selection of products here.

Wells Fargo Brokerage Review Summary

A variety of investment services are available to WellsTrade clients, some of which are at low prices. The broker still hasn’t released its robo-advisory service, so it’s not possible to analyze it yet. Its new commission schedule is competitive, but WellsTrade still falls short in many areas.

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WellsTrade reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com. Rating: 3