Merrill Edge is a full-service brokerage firm that offers its clients the benefits of an online broker with traditional in-person service. The company has been around for over 80 years, and it’s one of the most trusted names in the industry.
Merrill Edge is a brokerage firm that offers a variety of investment options. The company has been around for over 100 years and has a strong reputation.
Merrill Edge® is one of the most well-known brokerage firms today, offering a wide range of active and passive investment options. Merrill Edge, like other brokerages throughout the nation, provides zero-commission transactions, sophisticated trading tools, and a diverse selection of assets.
Merrill Edge, currently a part of Bank of America, is one of the country’s biggest asset management firms. It now manages over $2 trillion in assets for its customers and employs over 14,000 financial advisers to help them achieve their financial objectives.
We’ll take a deeper look at Merrill Edge’s® main features in this review to help you make an educated choice.
What Is Merrill Edge, and How Does It Work?
Merrill Edge® allows clients to trade equities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed in the United States without incurring a commission. Other products such as options, bonds, and mutual funds are also available at reasonable prices.
Merrill Edge’s MarketPro by Merrill Lynch® product also includes sophisticated trading capabilities. Traders also get access to high-quality research resources, allowing them to stay on top of today’s constantly changing financial markets.
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What Is Merrill Edge and How Does It Work?
Even though the emphasis of this evaluation will be on Merrill Edge’s self-directed trading solution, you should be aware that the company also provides other services like as an automated passive investment platform (commonly known as a robo-advisor) and human-guided financial advice services.
Types of Investing Accounts
The account types that Merrill Edge® presently offers for its self-directed trading program are listed below:
- Accounts in a bank (provided by Bank of America)
- Individual or combined online brokerage accounts that are taxed
- Accounts for individual retirement savings (traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA).
- SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and 401(k)s for small businesses.
- 529 plans are college savings plans.
- Accounts in Custody (UGMA/UTMA)
Creating a Bank Account
The red “Open an Account” button, situated in the top right side of the firm’s official website, is where you begin the process of opening an account with this provider.
After that, the user has two choices: let the system recommend the best account for him or her based on his or her objectives (general investment, retirement, or education), or select an account type from the list of possibilities.
Once the account type is chosen, the user must submit personal and financial information such as his or her Social Security Number (SSN), e-mail address, job information, and other financial data that the system will utilize for profiling.
The application is available to fill out online. The application form must be signed and submitted by the user.
It’s worth noting that Merrill Edge exclusively provides self-directed trading accounts to residents of the United States.
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Merrill Edge Highlights
Merrill Edge® offers a number of unique features in addition to their zero-commission model.
Advanced trading solutions, in-depth market data, intelligent instructional tools, and top-tier research materials are among these characteristics. We’ll go further into some of the most attractive aspects for investors and traders in this section.
Trading with no commissions (ETFs and Stocks)
Merrill Edge®, like other US brokerage companies, provides zero-commission transactions on thousands of US-listed stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETF).
These instruments may be traded simply on Merrill Edge’s top-of-the-line web-based or mobile trading platforms, and traders can use Merrill Edge MarketPro®, the company’s sophisticated solution, to discover possible opportunities on the US market.
Approximately 94 percent of the company’s transactions are completed at a better price than the stated value of the instrument, with an average execution time of 0.008 seconds. Meanwhile, Merrill Edge says that on orders of 1,000 shares or more, it saves customers an average of $17.8 each transaction.
Traders may purchase and sell options on Merrill Edge®, a derivative that provides the holder the right, but not the duty, to buy and sell shares at a certain price once the instrument expires.
These products may also be traded without paying commissions, but there is a $0.65 per-contract charge for both buying and selling them.
Meanwhile, options traders may use the firm’s MarketPro® solution’s OptionsPlay® function to discover possible trading strategies. They may also use the platform’s screener function to explore and filter thousands of instruments.
Investing in Mutual Funds
Using Merrill Edge’s self-directed trading platform, investors may purchase and sell hundreds of in-house and third-party mutual funds, enabling them to create diversified portfolios by investing in a variety of options.
These mutual funds include index funds, sector-specific funds, and strategy-focused funds, among others, and the majority of them can be bought and sold for free, though some may charge a $39.95 short-term redemption fee if the investor withdraws from the fund before a 90-day minimum holding period has passed.
Bonds and Fixed Income
Merrill Edge® has a diverse fixed-income portfolio that includes US Treasury bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), corporate, municipal, and government-backed agency issues. These products may be used by clients to create income-generating investment portfolios.
New issues, US treasuries, and brokered CDs have no fee as long as the transaction is completed online. The cost of a phone-assisted transaction is $29.95.
Other bonds that are purchased or sold on the secondary market, apart from US treasuries, will incur a $1 charge per bond, with a minimum of $10 per transaction and a maximum of $250 for online orders.
Trading on Margin
Merrill Edge® provides the option of trading on margin via its taxable margin accounts, which require a minimum deposit of $2,000 in cash or margin-eligible securities.
This provider’s current Base Lending Rate (BLR) for margin loans is 5.25 percent, with effective rates starting at 8.625 percent for account balances under $25,000. As the loan balance increases, they gradually decrease.
It’s essential to remember that margin trading is hazardous and may result in significant losses if your transactions turn against you unexpectedly. Meanwhile, if your account balance goes below the maintenance margin, you may be liable to a margin call.
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Merrill Edge Guided Investing is a service provided by Merrill Edge.
Merrill Edge’s Guided Investing program is a robo-advisor service provided by Merrill Edge for those who prefer to have experts manage their assets.
This service uses a collection of algorithms to suggest the best investing plan for each customer based on their financial objectives, risk tolerance, income, employment status, and other factors.
Merrill Edge presently costs a 0.45 percent yearly fee and requires a minimum balance of $5,000 to participate in the service.
Users may, however, pay a higher 0.85 percent charge in exchange for a mix of the firm’s robo-advisor services and human assistance. In this instance, the minimum investment amount is increased to $20,000.
The Guided Investing program builds investment portfolios for customers using a mix of asset classes in the form of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, with the system regularly reviewing and rebalancing the portfolios to match the original allocation goals.
Meanwhile, customers may use an online dashboard to track the achievement of their financial objectives and set up automatic monthly payments to their accounts.
In 2020, the financial site Investopedia awarded this program the Best Robo-Advisor for Education.
Merrill Edge MarketPro
Merrill Edge’s MarketPro® advanced trading service is intended to assist active traders in making well-informed choices by providing access to in-depth market data and insightful research reports from renowned security analysts.
Each trader’s requirements may be met by customizing the platform. Layouts and templates show real-time data as required, with 26 completely configurable windows and dozens of features such as Recognia®, OptionsPlay®, Market Depth, and Webfeeds accessible inside the interface.
This method is exclusive to Merrill Edge® customers and is completely free. The charting tool includes 104 distinct technical indicators and 25 sketching tools, as well as the Recognia® function for quickly identifying technical patterns.
Meanwhile, the portal gives users access to Nasdaq exchange Level 2 market data, such as the order book, market-maker view, net order imbalance, and depth meter.
Finally, the platform’s OptionsPlay® tool, which needs just the ticker symbol of the underlying asset to show a broad variety of relevant data that may aid in evaluating prospective trades, offers in-depth analyses and potential strategies for options traders.
Merrill Edge Select ETFs and Mutual Funds
Through its Merrill Edge Select® portfolio, which is an exclusive selection of the finest of the investment management industry, Merrill Edge® offers access to hundreds of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETF) managed by some of the world’s most recognized financial services firms.
Using Merrill Edge’s capabilities, investors may filter all accessible funds by asset class, economic sector, geographical exposure, strategy, and provider, among other factors, as well as conduct performance and quality-based screening.
Investors may utilize these funds to diversify their portfolios or get exposure to a variety of sectors, latitudes, and techniques that will help them meet their financial objectives.
Tools for Education and Research
Merrill Edge customers have access to a number of educational resources, including articles, videos, webinars, and structured courses covering a broad range of subjects to assist investors improve their knowledge.
These resources include subjects including personal finance, stocks, margin, options, and portfolio management, and are intended for both novice and experienced investors. Some resources concentrate on particular topics, such as managing market volatility and comprehending the effect of taxes on portfolio performance.
Meanwhile, Merrill Edge provides investors with high-quality research materials from reputable financial services companies and research powerhouses including Bank of America’s Global Research team, Morningstar, and CFRA Research.
These resources range from in-depth security research studies to lists of top-rated instruments for various asset classes, enabling investors to construct their portfolios with confidence by include the finest securities available.
Meanwhile, Merrill Edge has developed a number of powerful research tools, including a screener for stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and other instruments, an advanced tool called OptionsPlay® that provides options traders with potential strategies, and Recognia®, software that identifies potential trading patterns for a variety of instruments.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq’s MarketPro® solution’s Level II market data allows customers to study the market’s supply and demand dynamics using data supplied directly by Nasdaq.
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Support & Customer Service
Merrill Edge’s help area is intended to address the majority of queries and problems that customers may have while establishing an account, making a trade, depositing money, or developing a portfolio, as well as a variety of other subjects.
A dedicated area on the firm’s official website’s help section addresses the most commonly asked issues, and a staff of customer care specialists is available to answer investors’ inquiries 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Meanwhile, the business provides free consultations that can be booked simply via the support area, making this supplier stand out among the competition in this regard.
Fees and Pricing at Merrill Edge
Merrill Edge does not charge a fee for trading US-listed equities or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) via its online platform, as do other brokerage companies today. Any transaction conducted via a representative, however, is subject to a $29.95 charge.
Meanwhile, the company notes that each $1,000 of principle is subject to a modest transaction charge ranging from $0.01 to $0.03. These expenses are often linked with ETF expense ratios or regulatory fees.
Merrill Edge waives commissions on options but charges a $0.65 fee per contract. The broker, on the other hand, does not collect any fees or commissions when the contracts are exercised.
The cost of dealing with mutual funds, on the other hand, varies depending on the fund. A transaction cost is not levied on load-waived funds, and the same is true for no-load, no-transaction-fee funds unless they are redeemed within 90 days of the initial deposit. In such scenario, there is a $39.95 charge.
The cost varies from $19.95 for internet transactions to $29.95 for broker-assisted trades for no-load, transaction fee funds. This charge is applied to all orders, including buy, sell, and exchange.
Fixed-income instruments, for example, may be exchanged for $1 per bond, with a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $250 per transaction. For new issues, brokered certificate of deposits (CDs), and US government bonds bought at auctions or on the secondary market, this charge is waived.
Finally, Merrill Edge levies non-trading costs, such as $49.95 for complete account transfers and closeouts and $24.95 for domestic and international wire transfers.
Merrill Edge Security is a company that specializes in security.
Merrill Edge promises that its Fraud Protection Guarantee would repay any monetary damages incurred as a consequence of illegal access to a client’s account by a third party.
Meanwhile, the business is a bank-backed asset management firm owned by Bank of America, and it is a licensed broker-dealer and a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which offers coverage for clients’ accounts up to $500,000, including $250,000 in cash.
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Merrill Edge Advantages
- Asset management company with over $2 trillion in assets under management and a history in the financial sector spanning over 100 years.
- Bank of America, one of the biggest banks in the United States, backs the company.
- Merrill Edge provides a variety of investment options, including Merrill Edge®, a self-directed trading platform that allows clients to choose how they want to manage their assets.
- With features like Recognia® and OptionsPlay®, Merrill Edgesophisticated ®’s trading solution offers its customers an advantage when it comes to spotting possible opportunities in the US markets.
- For many of the instruments provided on Merrill Edge’s platform, investors may take advantage of low-cost or even no-cost transactions.
- The business provides top-of-the-line instructional and research resources to investors, allowing them to make well-informed choices while also helping them in the development of their investment abilities.
Merrill Edge Negatives
- This supplier does not allow anyone from outside the United States to create an account.
- At this time, Merrill Edge® does not allow you to trade currency pairs, futures, cryptocurrencies, fractional shares, or foreign equities.
- In comparison to competitors like Betterment and M1 Finance, the company’s Guided Investing service needs a large minimum account balance.
Alternatives at Merrill Edge
With so many other excellent options available, it’s always a good idea to look at other brokers before committing to Merrill Edge.
Fidelity provides nearly all of Merrill Edge’s features, account types, and solutions, as well as a robo-advisor called Fidelity Go. Fidelity, on the other hand, has already added fractional shares to its portfolio. Merrill Edge’s platform does not currently support these instruments.
Fidelity Go also charges cheaper yearly fees than Merrill Edge’s Guided Investing program.
Vanguard, unlike Merrill Edge®, focuses on long-term clients with defined financial objectives rather than providing a brokerage service for aggressive traders, like Merrill Edge® does.
Vanguard, on the other hand, competes with Merrill Edge in providing a broad variety of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and other investment options aimed at helping people create wealth.
Who Should Use Merrill Edge and Who Should Avoid It?
Merrill Edge® provides a broad variety of accounts, solutions, and instruments, so this provider should be a good fit for most investors. If one chooses to establish a bank account with Bank of America, it may be a one-stop shop.
Merrill Edge®, on the other hand, may not be the ideal option for traders interested in FX pairings, futures, or cryptocurrencies.
Finally, the lack of fractional shares may be a deal breaker for investors with a tiny account balance.
Merrill Edge is a fictional character created by Merrill Edge FAQ
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Merrill Edge and its features.
Is Merrill Edge a Good Starter Game?
Despite Merrill Edge’s broad variety of solutions making it a viable option for novices, the lack of fractional shares may restrict their capacity to diversify their portfolio properly by integrating various equities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) regardless of their budget.
However, for US citizens with a balance of $5,000 or more, this service may be one of the better options.
Merrill Edge® is a self-directed trading platform that gives investors access to a broad range of financial products while also giving them the tools they need to make better investing choices.
Given the small number of drawbacks connected with establishing an account with Merrill Edge — namely, no access to cryptocurrencies or fractional shares — there are so many benefits that choosing this company as your broker is almost impossible.
Merrill Edge is a trading platform that was launched in 2011. It offers a variety of investment options for its users, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. This broker has an edge over the other brokers because the company is not regulated by the SEC. Reference: merrill edge vs td ameritrade.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Merrill Lynch and Merrill Edge the same?
Merrill Lynch and Merrill Edge are both investment banks that specialize in different areas.
How much money do you need to open a Merrill Edge account?
You can open a Merrill Edge account for free.
Is Merrill Edge better than TD Ameritrade?
Merrill Edge is a brokerage firm that specializes in stocks and bonds, TD Ameritrade is a discount broker.
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