2013 Best Online Brokers
Five years ago, Merrill Lynch was on the verge of
The brokerage had written down billions of dollars in losses
as the financial crisis unfolded, and its balance sheet was in
In the thick of the cash crunch -- September 2008 --Bank of
) bought Merrill Lynch in a $50 billion deal that was more a
rescue of Merrill than a strategic opportunity for the bank.
One Of The Results
The combined companies have emerged with a comprehensive
online brokerage product called Merrill Edge. The service is a
sort of hybrid, combining online trading tools and low-priced
trades with some traditional advisory services.
On a more personalized side, clients can discuss
with professionals whom the firm calls financial solutions
advisers. Consultations are free but there may be fees for
certain products sold through Merrill Edge.
One of the strengths of Merrill Edge is its MarketPro online
trading platform. It provides real-time quotes and charts,
technical indicators, price alerts, screening,
, major world indexes and other features prized by active
traders. It also offers Dow Jones streaming news.
MarketPro is organized into various windows, each of which can
be customized with charting and research options. Users can
determine which elements to add, as well as the size of the
frames that go into each pane.
Charts can be embellished with about 40 indicators, such as
MACD (moving average convergence divergence), oscillators and
volume. The parameters for some of them can be customized,
In July, MarketPro added Recognia, a Canada-based technical
analysis service that provides bullish and bearish signals,
including some customization. Other brokerages such as Fidelity
use Recognia too.
Stock research is robust. A company profile includes extensive
financial figures, performance ratios, analyst ratings for the
stock, major competitors and earnings estimates. Trade execution
is fast, and orders can be entered by right-clicking any ticker
on any panel.
Extended-hours trading is available through an additional
agreement. There are no extra fees, but only limit orders are
In IBD's 2013 Best Online Brokers survey, Merrill Edge ranked
as one of the top five in the low commissions and fees
F or investors who meet its account minimums, Merrill Edge
provides 30 free stock and ETF trades per month. The customer
must have at least $25,000 in a brokerage account or a BofA bank,
CD or IRA account or $50,000 in a bank and brokerage account
combined in its Platinum Privileges program. Commissions are a
flat $6.95 thereafter.
Merrill Edge has a mobile app for account access with some
basic trading tools. The app does not include real-time
How Top Broker Rankings Were Calculated In IBD
Online Stock Broker Clients' Top 12 Wish-List