Merrill Edge Broker Review
- Commissions & Fees
- Trading Platforms
- Research Tools
- Customer Service
- Executions and Routes
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. It is comparable to Ally Invest, Fidelity, and other discount brokerages.
Merrill Edge has no minimum initial deposit to open an account.
Commissions & Fees
Stock and Options Trades
Type of trade
$6.95 + 0.75 per contract
Penny Stock Fees (stocks less than $1/share
Merrill Edge offers 30 commission free stock/ETF trades to all clients with a balance more than $25,000.
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.
$24,999 or less
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99
Miscellaneous Account Fees
Returned ACH debit fee
Full account transfer fee
Partial account transfer fee
$49.95 (retirement accounts)
$0 (non-retirement accounts)
Wire transfer fee
Security transfers and fees
Register & ship (non-government security
$25 (state of ownership
$500 (physical certificate)
Government security transfer fee
Fund transfer services returns
Bond coupon deposit fee
Past due exchanges for physical securities
Check writing & bill payment
Cancelled check fee
Returned check fee
Stop payment fee
Unlimited check writing
Web bill payment
Returned ACH debit fee
Statements & documents
Trade confirmation copy requests
Paper statement request
$5 per statement
Overnight mail request
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’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.
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.
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.
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 aesthetic
- Simple BofA Global Research rundowns
- Snap quotes
- 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?”
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
Merrill Edge curates a daily market summary of news, market performance, and trends using Thomson Reuters data.
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
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
- Strong research library
- Competitive fees
- 30 free trade per month if you have more than $25,000 in your account
- No commodities or Forex offerings
- Premium trading platform is lacking for many short term traders
- Weak mobile app