Merrill lynch trading brokerage account reviews

In its current form Merrill Lynch's brokerage registration goes back to , but the firm's original roots go back even further than that, to more than years ago. Overall, Merrill Edge ranked just in the top half of the 19 online brokerage firms studied by MoneyRates. Merrill Edge is a particularly welcoming trading platform for small investors because it does not have a minimum account size requirement, and it does not charge maintenance or inactivity fees.

Such fees, which are generally charged as a fixed dollar amount on a periodic basis, can be especially burdensome for smaller accounts because they tend to represent a disproportionately large percentage of those accounts.

While higher commission rates have the potential to impact smaller investors the most because they are charged as a flat rate rather than varying with the size of the trade, the significance of this really depends on how often you intend to trade. While heavy traders may want to look for a firm with lower commission rates, this will be less of an issue for buy-and-hold investors or for those who plan to invest in diversified mutual funds rather than building a portfolio of individual securities.

Mentioning Merrill Edge's strengths for smaller investor should not imply that the firm is geared solely to inexperienced or less sophisticated investors because Merrill Edge ranked at the top of all firms surveyed for the strength of research resources offered. Staying well-informed about everything from macro-economic trends to company-specific issues is a necessity for successful investing. Merrill Edge offers both proprietary fundamental research and automated screening tools for investors.

These resources represent an opportunity for new investors to learn about investment techniques and opportunities, and for experienced investors to stay on top of the issues affecting their investments. OptionsHouse has been rated the 1 platform for Options Trading the past seven years.

Merrill Edge is the online broker of Bank of America and is available to all investors, regardless if they are a current BofA customer. Like TD Ameritrade and ETRADE, Merrill Edge is well-rounded; however, it has a huge advantage over all other brokers thanks to its Preferred Rewards program where customers can earn free trades, credit cards bonus cash back, priority customer service, and more. I have personally been using the program since it launched in With its competitive commission rates for stocks and options trading, investors who have previous market experience will find themselves right at home.

However, unless you are already an Ally customer, you will find that there are better offerings available. Having the best stock broker to serve individual needs is very important for any investor. For example, cheap trades most often come at the expense of less research tools and a more simplified trade platform.

Consider these 12 key factors to help compare all stock brokers and ultimately find the best broker to suite your needs. Trade Commissions What does it cost to buy shares of stock? Does the fee change based on the type of order or size of order? To keep it simple, look for brokers that offer flat-fee trades, ie charging a flat rate regardless of the type, price of the stock, or size of the order. Customer Service When picking up the phone or emailing a broker, is a well trained customer service representative ready to assist?

How any investor is treated as a client is more important to some than others. Trading Tools Trading successfully is a lot easier when investors have great tools at their disposal. A top stock broker should offer access to a wide variety of trade tools to help make the most of each and every trade. From real-time streaming quotes to last sale tickers, quality stock scanners, mobile trading apps, and level II quotes to name a few.

Strong tools are essential for active investors. Account Minimums Some brokers allow you to open an account with no minimum deposit while others may require several thousand dollars. Also know that some brokers require higher minimums to gain access to premium platforms, functionality, and personalized support.

Market Research A good online broker will provide a variety of market research tools. The rule of thumb here is simple: Investment Options A online stock broker should offer access to not only trading stocks, but also a strong selection of no load mutual funds, commission free ETFs, and complex options.

Other unique investment offerings to look for could include direct market routing, conditional orders, futures trading, and forex trading.