Merrill Edge is an online brokerage platform launched in 2010 by Merrill Lynch; two years after Bank of America completed its acquisition of the wealth management firm.
Since its launch, the platform has continued to offer streamlined online investing making it easy for clients to control their finances. Today, the online brokerage platform has a client base of more than 2 million users from around the world.
With an adviser network of 2,500 experts spread across different branches, Merrill Edge has positioned itself as a provider of unique and current in-house research. In 2011, J.D Power recognized Merrill Edge Contact Centers for providing first class customer service experience via its Live Phone Channel.
In the same year, Merrill Edge launched its first mobile app that enables its clients to invest while on the move.
At the time of compiling this informative Merrill Edge review, the online brokerage platform had been recognized as one of the best online brokers in 2018. Merrill Edge has won the award – Barron’s 2018 Best Online Broker Survey – 5 times in a row since 2014.
Merrill Edge Features and Services
As an online broker committed to building stronger relationships with customers and the community, Merrill Edge experts use available insights and technology to help its customers attain their financial goals.
Backed by one of America’s largest financial institution – Bank of America – Merrill Edge is a member of SIPC and FINRA. This means it’s regulated for both fixed income and equity markets.
To get started, you must have a clear objective of what you want to achieve. Are you planning on securing your financial future in readiness for retirement or would you like to create an emergency fund?
With Merrill Edge, you can open one of the following accounts:
- Retirement – Rollover IRA, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Inherited IRA, Bank Savings IRA and Individual Health Savings Account
- General Investing – Online brokerage account, trust account and estate account.
- Online Merrill Edge Guided Investing – get to pursue your investing goals with a low cost managed portfolio
- Invest with an adviser – receive advice from licensed Merrill Edge Financial Solution Advisors
- College Planning – designed to help you plan for your children’s future – saving for college. Available plans include NextGen Direct 529 plan, NextGen Select 529 plan, and Custodial account.
- Small business – this account is designed for small businesses to take advantage of health care, investment and retirement planning solutions. Plans include small business 401(k), Individual 401(k), SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, BASIC and Retirement Cash Management Account. Other plans include Business Investor Account, Working Capital Management Account, Business Health Savings Account and Small Business banking.
Merrill Edge Personal Investing
As a full-service broker, Merrill Edge offers a wide range of investments. For instance, stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Fixed income, options and Margin Lending. As said earlier, you can open an account with Merrill Edge depending on your financial goals.
For instance, you can open a college planning account, retirement account, small business account or an online brokerage account. These are designed for goal oriented and hands-on investors.
If you are too busy with other responsibilities, you can opt for Merrill Edge Guided Investing. This service allows you to pursue your goals using an online investment advisory program.
As a result, you will get to experience the best of online investing. Not only will you build a wealthy and healthy portfolio but also you will get to do so at a lower cost.
On the other hand, you can opt to invest with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor. As a licensed professional, the financial solutions advisor will help you pursue and attain your financial goals very easily.
At the time of writing, Merrill Edge was running a promotion where new clients can get up to $600 when they enroll, open and fund a new investment account or IRA.
Merrill Edge Trading
Merrill Edge introduced a simpler way of investing and trading online. This has made it easier for goal oriented and hands-on traders and investors to build wealthy and healthy portfolios.
In addition, the trading platform also allows traders to make the most out of their investments. With Merrill Edge trading platform, traders have the opportunity of enjoying a personalized experience by accessing step by step guidance and easy to use tools.
Combined with actionable insights from Merrill Lynch, users can finally become confident traders and investors.
Choosing stocks has been simplified for traders at Merrill Edge. Instead of guessing what stocks are great for your portfolio, you can now rely on insights and research available on a single platform. As a result, you can finally make the right choice when selecting what stock to invest in.
Merrill Edge Market Pro is a web-based trading platform that allows traders and investors to get real-time market analysis, access to powerful trading tools and award-winning research.
With Market Pro, users have the opportunity of accessing current financial news, building their own watch lists, get streaming quotes and set alerts.
Traders can monitor their portfolios in real time, watch up to the minute positions and balances. They also have access to interactive charting tools that utilize streaming market data. That is not all.
Market Pro allows traders to create customized views of their accounts just to see the information they need. They can rearrange data on the page as well as drag and drop windows onto customized account view for better analysis.
The software is available with customized 36 technical analysis studies which traders can identify trends much easier.
Research and Analysis
Merrill Edge has also simplified how traders and investors access research and insights for better decision making. The online brokerage platform has made available dedicated pages on research and they include:
- Market Overview
- Stock Research
- Options Research
- ETF Research
- Mutual Fund Research
- Fixed Income Research
Thanks to the award-winning BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, traders have access to buy rated stocks, rankings, and independent ratings. Named as one of the top global research firms from 2011 to 2017 by Institutional Investor, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research collaborates with over 3,200 companies to provide traders with actionable data and information.
Merrill Edge Mobile Investing
You can now access your Merrill Edge account, anywhere, anytime and across multiple mobile devices. The Merrill Edge mobile app provides access to a wide range of useful tools designed to help you make informed investing decisions.
Developed to work with your iPhone, iPad and Android device, the mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Aside from accessing your Merrill Edge account, you can trade ETFs, mutual funds, options, review open orders and trade stocks.
Users also have the option of checking holdings and balances including past and pending transactions. In addition, users get to receive the latest quotes, up to the minute headlines and latest analyst ratings.
Traders can set up alerts to help them stay informed about their portfolio, securities and investing accounts. They can manage, monitor and create stock watchlists while on the go.
Thanks to improved technology, traders can now log into their accounts using Touch ID. They can also take advantage of step by step planning and guidance tools.
Using Apple Watch, traders can track their stock watchlist, monitor major indexes, access market performance and view active stocks.
Merrill Edge Investor Education
You can now further your knowledge and understanding of financial instruments like mutual funds, stocks ETFs and bonds using a series of online courses curated by experts at Merrill Edge. Topics range from the basics on financial instruments to advanced trading strategies.
To make it simpler for users to navigate the Investor Education page, the resources have been divided into:
- Investing Experience – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced
- Topic – Stocks, Mutual Funds, Personal Finance, Investing & Markets
- Format – Calculators, Course, Articles, Videos, and Webinars.
Merrill Edge Pricing
Merrill Edge does not charge traders for opening and operating an account. The minimum initial investment is $0 in exception of 529 NextGen Direct accounts where traders are charged $25.
When it comes to investing and trading, Merrill Edge charges the following rates:
- Stocks & ETFs – a flat rate of $6.95 regardless of your account balance or trading rate. For automated phone trades, Merrill Edge charges $6.95 and $29.95 for Representative assisted trades.
- Options – for online trades, traders are charged $6.95 per trade plus $0.75 per contract. For representative assisted trades, charges are $29.95 per trade plus $0.75 per contract.
- Mutual funds – For load-waived funds and no-load, no transaction fee funds, Merrill Edge charges $0 per transaction.
- Fixed income and bonds – for online trades, no charges for new issues (including Brokered CDs) and Treasuries (including Auctions and Secondary). For representative assisted trades, Merrill Edge charges $29.95 per trade service charge for Treasuries (including Auction and Secondary).
Merrill Edge is an online brokerage platform that operates with professionalism inherited from its parent organization: Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. Designed for goal oriented and hands-on investors, Merrill Edge offers the best – trading tools, research, and insights – for faster and better decision making.
In addition, the company offers helpful customer service to its users.
We noted a few drawbacks when compiling this Merrill Edge Review. Due to Merrill Edge Market Pro software or system limitations, execution of trades may be delayed.
The Market Pro trading platform is only available to users with a balance of $50,000 or those who make 15 trades or more per quarter.
In addition, self-directed investors can access Market Depth and NASDAQ Level II quotes with a balance of $1 million or more in their Bank of America and Merrill Lynch investment account or they must have traded 30 times in every quarter.
Despite the drawbacks, Merrill Edge has a lot of benefits and that is why the company has won the Barron’s 2018 Best Online Broker Survey for 5 years since 2014.