Merrill Edge Broker Review
  • Commissions & Fees
  • Features
  • Trading Platforms
  • Research Tools
  • Customer Service
  • Executions and Routes
3.9

Summary

Merrill Edge is an online brokerage platform targeted at investors with between $100,000 and $250,000 to invest. It was founded in 2010 by combining Bank of America’s online investing services and Merrill Lynch’s investment services resources. Their goal was to compete Charles Schwab and Fidelity’s brokerage offerings. Our review looks at how fierce of a competitor they ended up being.

About Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is a division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and was created after Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch in 2008. Founded in 2010, Merrill Edge is a online brokerage platform targeted at investors with between $100,000 and $250,000 to invest. It was founded by combining Bank of America’s online investing services and Merrill Lynch’s investment services resources.

Type of Broker

Merrill Edge is a discount broker created by Bank of America to compete with Charles Schwab and Fidelity’s brokerage offerings.

Account Minimums

Merrill Edge has no minimum initial deposit to open an account.

Commissions & Fees

Stock and Options Trades

Type of trade

Fee

Equity Trade

$6.95

Option Trade

$6.95 + 0.75 per contract

Penny Stock Fees (stocks less than $1/share

None

Merrill Edge offers 30 commission free stock/ETF trades to all clients with a balance more than $25,000.

Software Fees

Merrill Edge’s premium software pack, MarketPro doesn’t have any direct price, but in order to qualify for the platform, you must make at least 15 times per quarter, or have a combined $50,000 in your Bank of America banking and Merrill Edge accounts.

Account Fees

Margin Rates

8.25%

$24,999 or less

 $25,000.00 to $49,999.99

8.50%

 $50,000.00 to $99,999.99

8.50%

 $100,000.00 to $249,999.99

7.13%

 $250,000.00 to $499,999.99

7.13%

 $500,000.00 to $999,999.99

6.88%

 Above $1,000,000.00

6.25%

Miscellaneous Account Fees

Transfers

Returned ACH debit fee

$30

Full account transfer fee

$49.05

Partial account transfer fee

No charge

Closeout fee

$49.95 (retirement accounts)

$0 (non-retirement accounts)

Return deposit

$20

Wire transfer fee

$25

Security transfers and fees

Register & ship (non-government security

$25 (state of ownership

$500 (physical certificate)

Government security transfer fee

$125

Fund transfer services returns

$10

Bond coupon deposit fee

$5

Security reorganization

$30 (voluntary)

$0 (mandatory)

Past due exchanges for physical securities

$50

Check writing & bill payment

Cancelled check fee

$3

Returned check fee

$30

Stop payment fee

$25

Unlimited check writing

No charge

Checkbook

No charge

Web bill payment

No charge

Returned ACH debit fee

$30

Statements & documents

Trade confirmation copy requests

$3

Paper statement request

$5 per statement

Overnight mail request

$25

Platforms & Tools

Merrill Edge offers two trading platforms: their basic “retail” web-based platform, and their more comprehensive, premium trading platform MarketPro. As mentioned above, one must make at least 15 trade per quarter or have a combined balance of at least $50,000 in your Bank of America banking and Merrill Edge accounts.

Merrill Edge Trading Platform (Web)

Merrill Edge Web Platform

Merrill Edge’s basic platform offers all most would ask of a brokerage’s web platform. It has quotes, basic charting, an option chain, a new feeds, and even some decent research functionality. Merrill Edge uses Morningstar and Lipper as their main research providers, each offering their own unique visualizations and proprietary ranking systems.

Their web based technical charts are more than enough for basic technical analysis, offering the majority of popular technical indicators.

merrilledgewebplatform2

Merrill Edge MarketPro

MarketPro is Merrill Edge’s premium trading platform. It is their counter offer to the other premium software packages in the industry like ThinkOrSwim.

Charts

merrilledgechart

The charts inside MarketPro are pretty robust and stand up to many of the charting packages included with trading platforms. They offer around 70 technical indicators, various drawings like Fibonacci retracements and trend lines, as well as intraday tick charting.

Automatic Scanner

merrillautoscanner

A feature that I’m a fan of is their “Market Movers” scanner. While not anything new, many platforms simply don’t offer a customizable automatic scanner. It allows you to select from more than 90 scanning criteria and refreshes every 30 seconds.

Other features I like:

  • Level 2 market depth aestheticmerrilllevel2
  • Simple BofA Global Research rundownsmerrillglobalresearch
  • Snap quotes       merrillsnap 
  • Ability to position a bar at the top or bottom of your platform showing the quote of a specific ticker.

Merrill Edge Mobile

Merrill Edge’s mobile app is probably the weakest point of the brokerage. Not only does it look outdated, but recent updates have hurt functionality. Users of the app report slowness, and frequent errors when placing orders.

The charts are simple area charts with no extra functionality, reminding one of a brokerage app from 2010.

For example, iTunes user 321lorenzo says…

“Update Jan 2018 – this app is still shockingly terrible. How does the #1 bank on the world have the world’s worst iphone let app?”

merrillmobile1 merrillmobile2

 

Research Tools

Merrill Edge has a comprehensive research offering. They offer various types of research in different niches. A large reason Bank of America originally acquired Merrill Lynch was because of the gravity of their research, due to their status as an investment bank and wealth management firm.

Daily Market Summaries

merrillmarketsummaries

Merrill Edge curates a daily market summary of news, market performance, and trends using Thomson Reuters data.

Stock Screeners

Merrill Edge clients get access to two premium stock screeners: Morningstar and CFRA.

Merrill Edge: Our Perspectives

This is more editorial content from Merrill Edge, it is their newsletter, various articles, and deep research pieces. An example of an Our Perspectives piece would be a long PDF on how a new Washington tax reform bill can affect markets and your personal finances.

BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research

This research division of Bank of America has won awards from Institutional Investor six years in a row for the best research offerings from 2011-2016. Clients of Global Research get access to a number of flagship reports, proprietary economic indicators, and access to corporate events. Among these are:

  • Global Fund Manager Survey (monthly)
  • The Thundering World (macro trade ideas)
  • BofA Analytics
  • U.S. Economic Weekly (weekly report on U.S. economy, leverages proprietary economic indicators

Customer Service

Merrill Edge has an international 24 hour customer service phone line, with an average wait time of four minutes. Of 234 customer votes, 92% rate their help as quality, according to GetHuman. In Benzinga’s 2017 review of Merrill Edge, their customer service was highly praised.

Type of Trader it is Best For

Merrill Edge is best for the mutual fund or stock investor, their huge library of research will aide in your investment choices, and their mutual fund prices are among the cheapest in the industry. However, unlike many large brokerages, they currently offer no commission free ETFs, making them a bad choice for ETF investors.

I believe shorter term traders would be better off at a broker like TD Ameritrade or Etrade, who offer very similar fees and commissions, but undeniably stronger platforms than Merrill Edge’s MarketPro.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Strong research library
  • Competitive fees
  • 30 free trade per month if you have more than $25,000 in your account

Cons

  • No commodities or Forex offerings
  • Premium trading platform is lacking for many short term traders
  • Weak mobile app