Merill EDGE Broker Review
Merrill EDGE is a full service broker that is owned and operated by Bank of America after acquiring Merrill Lynch back in 2009. Merrill EDGE launched in 2010 and has been busy gaining clients and building their portfolio that has reached over $100 billion in assets under management. They have focused on building a business that focuses on customer needs by simplifying their financial lives with access to a full range of investment choices, banking services, research tools and personal advisers to help you manage your long term financial goals. They have received numerous awards for their customer service, most recently by J.D. Power in 2015, and the Top Global Research firm by Institutional Investor to name a few. They have a competitive commission schedule and full line of tools and educational resources that are free to clients and offer some great insight into trading and market analysis.
Commissions & Fees
For as many services that Merrill EDGE provides they offer a great commission schedule that rivals even the discount brokers. Equities and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a flat rate of just $6.95 no matter how much size you trade.
Options start with a base rate of $6.95 with additional $0.75 per contract and both equity and option trades done with a trading representative will be charged $29.95 per trade. If your options are exercised or assigned the fee is only $6.95 which on the lower end of the spectrum compared to some of their competitors.
One thing that Merrill EDGE provides that I found to be pretty awesome is that they will give you up 30 free trades per calendar month if you have a Bank Of America account and there is more than $25,000 in the account or have more than $25,000 in equity in your trading account. I haven’t seen any other brokers offer that kind of deal and thought it was a great incentive for clients to be rewarded for keeping more money with them. On top of that if you have more than $100,000 or more in your accounts then you can be eligible to get up to 100 trade free per calendar month. Those savings can really add up over the long run, keeping more money in your accounts. For additional information you can check out the link here.
They are currently offering no account minimums for regular brokerage accounts or retirement accounts and there no annuals fees associated with their accounts so you can open an account and check out their services without fronting any capital.
Trading Platform & Tools
Merrill has a couple different platforms you can choose from. Starting with their basic online web-based platform that has real-time quotes and market data with a easy to use tools that help streamline the way you trade. The charting is basic but the layout is user friendly and easy to use. This is more for the casual investor that doesn’t require more powerful tools and advanced charting.
The main platform that they have for active traders is Merrill EDGE MarketPro. With this platform you will have access to more advanced charting and live streaming quotes and market data. The dashboard can be customized based on what information you want to see and you have access to level two quotes and real time news and research. The platform is free to use but in order to be eligible to use it you must trade a minimum of 15 times in a quarter or have more than $50,000 in equity in your account. Overall the platform is powerful and will meet the demands of most active traders but a couple of things that I wish it had is hotkey abilities and direct market access (DMA). Those are two requirements I need in my trading but if that is something you can do without then this is an excellent broker to check out.
Their Research tools turned out to be more in depth than expected with powerful screeners, profile pages that include all kinds of useful fundamental information and fundamental ratios along with analyst reports and ratings for individual stocks. They also have a great educational section on the site that features topics for beginners all the way to advanced investors. They cover everything from market structures to personal finance and investing strategies via articles or video webinars free to all.
Merrill Lynch has it all. A powerful platform, competitive commission rates, excellent customer service, robust research features and banking and adviser resources. They have won a ton of awards over the years proving that they are dedicated to their customers and the relationships they maintain with them. Overall, I definitely recommend Merrill Edge to the casual investor and trader but would also recommend it to the more active trader if you don’t require the use of hotkeys and direct market access.
As always if you have any questions or comments regarding Merrill EDGE, please leave us a message below!