Bank of America today announced new enhancements to the Merrill Edge self-directed investing platform, including a simplified pricing structure for self-directed clients, a new streaming trading platform called Merrill Edge Market Pro, and additional online investment choices on merrilledge.com.
"The expansion of the Merrill Edge platform is just another example of how we continue to deliver investment guidance to meet the unique needs of our investment clients," said Dean Athanasia, Preferred and Small Business executive for Bank of America. "Clients will get more from our platform through enhancements that offer convenient and leading-edge tools they need to help them invest, at a very competitive, simplified pricing structure."
To continue cultivating a more user-friendly experience, Merrill Edge eliminated its four-tiered pricing structure in favor of a more streamlined, simplified approach for its self-directed clients. All stock and exchange-traded-fund (ETF) trades have moved to a flat fee of $6.95 for self-directed investing. In addition, clients who have more than $25,000 in cash balances with Merrill Edge or Bank of America will continue to receive 30 free trades per month.1 The company has also eliminated account minimums and maintenance fees for self-directed accounts.
"One of our top goals is to listen to our clients and deliver solutions that help them meet their needs in a way that is easy to understand," said Alok Prasad, head of Merrill Edge. "Simplifying our pricing structure met a key client need, while also allowing us to take an industry-leading position. We expect about 75 percent of Merrill Edge self-directed clients will see lower per trade fees, and no client will see an increase in these fees."
In addition to simplifying its pricing structure, Merrill Edge has made significant improvements to the online investment experience for clients, including the development of Merrill Edge Market Pro™2.
Merrill Edge Market Pro is a new streaming trading platform geared toward sophisticated self-directed investors and active traders. The platform provides clients with real-time market analysis for greater control over every trade, customization and features including integrated trading, account information, in-depth streaming market data and greater access to proprietary research.
"The November Merrill Edge Report indicated that half of mass affluent consumers will consider reallocating their portfolios over the next six months," said Prasad. "New tools like Merrill Edge Market Pro allow our clients to receive up-to-the-minute trading information to help them make decisions on their own, and give clients the choice to help them manage their investments in the way that's most convenient for them."
Additional enhancements to the online platform include:
- Expanded Suite of Fixed Income Products: Clients have access to a full suite of fixed income instruments they can trade online, including corporate, agency, municipal and treasury securities.
- Enhanced Investing Research and Education Centers: Clients have improved access to expanded screeners, education, research, and third-party analysis.
- Expanded Inventory of Mutual Funds: Clients have gained access to more than 800 new mutual funds from more than 100 fund families - including 600 new no-load mutual funds - over the past year. New mutual funds continue to be added.
- Expanded Alerts: Clients can sign up to receive trade execution, market and news alerts in HTML or text-based e-mails.
In 2011, Bank of America doubled the number of Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisors (FSAs) to more than 1,200 nationwide in banking centers throughout the United States or in the Merrill Edge Advisory Center. These FSAs provide guidance to clients with under $250,000 in investable assets.
1 $0 trades are only available with an individual or joint Merrill Edge self-directed brokerage account. MLPF&S waives its commission fee for as many as 30 monthly online equity trades, including stock and exchange traded funds (ETFs) for customers who meet any one of the following criteria:
Combined total of $25,000 or more in your deposit accounts at Bank of America, N.A. When you make a trade, MLPF&S determines whether you meet the balance requirement to qualify that trade for the $0 waiver. MLPF&S adds the average collected balances in your deposit accounts as of the prior month to the balances in your bank CD and IRAs as of the prior business day. Bank deposit accounts with the same social security number (SSN) as the (SSN)(s) on the self-directed brokerage account are systematically included in the balance determination. If this calculation reflects a combined total of less than $25,000, a second calculation is made. To determine the 30-trade limit, MLPF&S adds the qualifying trades in your individual accounts and joint accounts. Commission fees apply when the balance requirement is not met, or when you exceed 30 qualifying trades a month. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, option trading, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing, account maintenance, research request and termination apply. See merrilledge.com for details. Standard deposit account fees apply.Relationship requirements and pricing are subject to change.
Or combined balance of $25,000 or more in cash balances in one or both of the following sweep options in your Merrill Edge self-directed account(s) as of the prior business day:
- Bank Deposit Accounts sweep option with your CMA
- Retirement Assets Savings Program II sweep with your IRA.
This offer does not apply to Business/Corporate Accounts, Investment Club Accounts, Partnership Accounts and certain fiduciary accounts held at MLPF&S.
2 Merrill Edge Market Pro is available to Merrill Edge self-directed only relationships. To qualify, you must have total combined balances of more than $50,000 in your Merrill Lynch investment accounts and Bank of America, N.A. deposit accounts or make greater than 60 self-directed trades a year. For more details on how balance and trading requirements are determined, see merrilledge.com/marketpro. Relationship requirements are subject to change.
The information provided by Merrill Edge Market Pro is not a recommendation of a transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities. It also is not an offer to sell. The information provided does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs, or tax status and should not be used or construed as an indicator of future performance. Before acting on any of the information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.