Merrill Guided Investing With Advisor Review

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Deposit Fees And Options

How To Start Investing In Your Merrill Edge® Self-Directed Account

Merrill Edge charges no deposit fees. Besides bank transfer, you can also use check payments. Wire transfers cost $25.

Merrill Edge deposit options
$0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Merrill Edge? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took more than 3 business days. This is a lengthy process compared to other brokers.

Again, you can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.

How do you withdraw money from Merrill Edge?

  • Log into the account
  • Go to the “Accounts”, then select “Transfer Money & Securities”
  • Select the withdrawal method you want to use
  • For the cash banking connection withdrawal:
  • Select your Merrill Edge account as “Transfer from”
  • Select the account you want to withdraw the money to as “Transfer to”
  • Add the amount you wish to withdraw, set the frequency
  • Initiate the withdrawal

How Do I Open An Account

Opening an account with Merrill Edge is straightforward. You can answer a short questionnaire to find the right investment account type. Alternatively, you choose your investment account of choice.Merrill Edge Self-Directed investing has a $0 account minimum. Information you need to apply includes:

  • Your Social Security Number and date of birth
  • A mailing address and email address
  • Employment information
  • General financial information like annual income and net worth)

Once you open an account, you can fund it through real-time instant funding if youre a Bank of America customer. Alternatively, you fund it through wire transfer or check. When you deposit funds as a non-BoA customer, it takes approximately two days for funds to post.

How This Broker Makes Money From You And For You

With fewer brokerages charging commissions these days, it’s less obvious how they stay in business. Here are some of the behind-the-scenes ways Merrill Edge makes money from youand for you.

  • Interest on cash: Merrill Edge makes money on the difference between what it pays you and what it can earn on your cash balances. You can opt for a bank deposit account or a money market account for your cash. It’s automatically swept to earn an interest rate at least half of the Federal Funds rate. If you don’t choose, you’ll earn 0.01% on your cash balances.
  • Stock loan program: Merrill Edge earns money by loaning the stocks in your account for short sales. It does not share that revenue with you.
  • Payment for order flow: Merrill Edge does not accept payment for order flow from third-party market makers.
  • Price improvement: Merrill Edge’s smart order router looks for quality trade executions. Customers achieve, on average, price improvement of $0.66 on orders of one to 99 shares, $3.98 on 100 to 499 shares, $11.51 on 499 to 1,999 shares, $19.95 on 2,000 to 4,999 shares, and $24.41 on 5,000 to 9,999 shares. For options, the net price improvement per contract is $0.084.
  • Portfolio margining: Merrill Edge does not offer portfolio margining, which can lower how much margin you need based on overall risk. In general, portfolio margining works best for customers who trade derivatives that offset the risk of their equity positions.

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Is Merrill Edge Legit

Yes, Merrill Edge is safe and legitimate. This US-based broker was founded in 2010 by Bank of America. Its regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and provides protection for its investors against the loss of cash and securities through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation .

Active Management Not Passive

Merrill Edge Guided Investing Robo

Merrill doesnt want you to call Guided Investing a robo-advisor. But at some level it still is, even if it uses more of a hybrid approach, especially if you opt for the online program with an advisor. Merrill wants to distinguish its human-driven approach from the computer-driven approach of other robo-advisors, as if the latter approach werent created and managed by humans as well.

The company says that its portfolios are managed by Merrill investment professionals who use a disciplined approach to asset allocation, portfolio construction and investment selection.

But the real difference between Merrills offering and other robos is that Merrill manages the portfolio actively and frankly, its not clear if thats a good thing. Plenty of research has shown that active portfolio management tends to underperform more passive investing approaches.

Merrills chief investment office develops the investing strategies and which ETFs or mutual funds will be used in portfolios and in what allocations. Theyll also make adjustments to the portfolio as the market moves, with the intent of reducing risk and optimizing returns.

An active approach is usually more expensive than passive investing, because it has to build in the costs of the investment pros in managing the portfolio. And Merrill is pricier .

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Bottom Line: Should You Use Merrill Edge Guided Investing

This service offers investors a chance to place their portfolios into the capable hands of a big name in the financial world. Plus, even as a robo-advisor, Merrill Edge Guided Investing keeps the professionalism and expertise of its human advisors. This ensures your portfolio is managed by more than algorithms and automated systems. Before you open an account, though, youll have to make sure you have at least $5,000 to spare to start investing and that you can responsibly handle the 0.45% annual fee.

Merrill Edge Guided Investing Review: Is It Worth It

Merrill Edge Guided Investing isnt actually a robo-advisor, but it certainly has the feel of one. While you get access to an online dashboard and constant monitoring of your accounts, your actual investment strategy is managed by human advisors. The downside is that you dont actually get to talk to them for individualized advice unless you upgrade your plan. Merrill Edge is owned by Bank of America and offers ETFs and mutual funds spread out across asset classes for diverse investing.

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Investment Programs Available Markets And Products Of The Broker

Merrill Edge is a broker for investors that offers several ways to manage money:

  • Merrill Edge Self-Directed. This investment option is suitable for those who are ready to independently trade stocks, options, and other assets that make it possible to make a profit in the future. The investor can invest and manage funds at hisdiscretion. Trading is also available from a mobile device.

  • Merrill Guided Investing or investment advisory program. Created for investors who not only want to make a profit but also achieve specific financial goals. A consultant who is always in touch will help the user fulfill the maximum plan.

  • Invest with an Advisor. An option for investors who want to manage an account single-handedly, but at the same time have a financial advisor nearby who will assist in selecting the most profitable investment options and find a local or comprehensivesolution to the client’s financial issues.

Depending on the method of managing funds, the size of the minimum deposit, as well as trading conditions, change.

If you are a large investor and plan on investments over $10,000, contact us at or by the feedback form on our website. Our professional team will take you through all the intricacies of thedeal and all the steps from signingup to withdrawal of profits.

What Is The Merrill Edge Portfolio Story

How to Transfer Money & Fund Your Merrill Edge® Self-Directed Investing Accounts

The Portfolio Story gives investors a robust view of their portfolio and how it functions. Investors can compare it to those on the market and can see a detailed breakdown of their portfolio, its allocation, and get detailed information that may prompt asset allocation changes or even investment changes. Its a more diverse look into the portfolio than a dashboard could provide.

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Merrill Edge Review Summary

Merrill Edge is a US-based stockbroker founded in 2010 by Bank of America . BofA acquired Merrill Lynch during the 2008 financial crisis, and the rationale for launching Merrill Edge was to combine its online investing arm and Merrill Lynch’s investment expertise. Merrill Edge offers US stocks, ETFs, options, and bonds. It is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority .

Merrill Edge is considered safe because its parent company is a bank with a long track record and solid reputation, it discloses its financials, and is regulated by top-tier regulators.

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Merrill Edge Guided Investing Robo

The Merrill Lynch robo-advisor starts by determining your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Risk tolerance is determined by completing a brief questionnaire , which is the typical way robo-advisors establish your risk tolerance.

Your time horizon is determined by the target year by which you plan to access some or all of the assets in your account. If youre opening a retirement account, your retirement age will be the target year.

Your investment strategy is created based upon your responses to the initial questionnaire.

The Merrill Edge Chief Investment Office team is at the helm of the portfolio creation for Merrill Edge Guided Investing. They create the asset allocation and perform the investment analysis and portfolio construction. The team also makes the short-term tactical adjustments and selects the ETFs for each strategy.

Finally the CIO team reviews the portfolios and provides investment oversight.

The Merrill Edge robo-advisor is helpful for retirement planning, so the robo offers a bit more guidance for individuals who are setting up retirement accounts. However, all customers benefit from the Merrill Lynch specialty team which supports portfolio creation, asset allocation, and rebalancing.

Your target asset allocation will include between 0% and 100% in each of 4 asset classes, including, equities, fixed income, alternative investments, and cash. Positions are held in low cost, index-based ETFs.

There are five target asset allocations:

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Pros And Cons Of Merrill Edge

Pros

  • Wide range of services, from self-directed to personalized advising
  • Merrill Edge Market Pro offers advanced tools for seasoned traders
  • Good for Bank of America customers that qualify for free trades
  • 24/7 customer support is always a plus

Cons

Of those companies, only Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab offer in-person financial advice through a network of physical branches.

Are There Any Fees

Merrill Edge Guided Investing (MEGI) Robo

As mentioned, Merrill Edge offers commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs. But option trades cost $0.65 per contract, and no transaction fee mutual funds cost $19.95 per transaction. And you’ll pay an AUM fee of 0.45% to 0.85% depending on your account size.There arent any account maintenance fees or minimum deposit requirements. However, Merrill Edge charges $49.95 in closeout fees for retirement accounts and $49.95 for account transfer fees for general investing accounts. Overall, Merrill Edge is best for stock and ETF investing due to its lack of fees.

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Investment Research And User Interface

On the research side of things, Merrill Edge provides investing insights and third-party analysis from Morningstar, Inc., CFRA, Moody’s, and multiple other investment analysis companies. You’ll also have access to Bank of America Global Research, and you can skim the latest stock market quotes and commentary on the brokerage’s digital apps.

When it comes to its available platforms, you’ll have three to choose from: the Merrill Edge web platform, the mobile app, and Merrill Edge Market Pro.

How To Open An Account With Megi

You can create a portfolio allocation with MEGI before you even open an account. This will give you an opportunity to see what MEGI can do for you before becoming a customer and committing funds.

This signup is a four-part process:

  • Establish your investment goals .
  • Determine your risk tolerance, which will require answering five questions.
  • Review the investment strategy provided for you.
  • Open your account, if youre satisfied with the results.
  • If you already have an account with either Bank of America or Merrill Edge, you can simply transfer funds from that account into your MEGI account. If not, you can set up a wire transfer or ACH from an outside account.

    Some of the input screens have sliders that let you adjust the numbers that you input. For example, youll be asked:

  • How much do you want to invest?
  • How much do you want to contribute each month toward your goal?
  • When is the earliest youll want to withdraw money from your MEGI account?
  • Based on your risk tolerance, goals and investment horizon, the investment strategy will generate a tailor-made asset allocation.

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    Is Merrill Edge Guided Investing A Good Way To Invest

    If you can meet the $5,000 minimum investment and you prefer ETFs to other investments, Merrill Edge Guided Investing could be a great choice.

    The annual fee isn’t overwhelming and the professional management aspect could appeal to investors who want more than a DIY approach.

    On the other hand:

    You might want to check out another robo advisor if you’re hoping to build a portfolio with more than ETFs or you want to get started with less money.

    Just keep in mind that you might not be rebalancing or professional guidance with other online platforms.

    Weigh those benefits against the cost and investment choices.

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    Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 12:01 AM

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    Who Merrill Edge Is For

    Chapter 1: How to Get Started Using Merrill Edge MarketPro®

    Beginner and intermediate DIY investors will be well-served by Merrill Edge’s technology and range of services. As an online brokerage, Merrill Edge offers a comprehensive platform with adequate technical and fundamental tools suitable for long-term investors and casual traders. As part of Bank of America’s overall financial services universe, Merrill Edge offers perks , a seamless banking/investing experience, a wide variety of educational offerings, and strong in-person support.

    • Limited platform capabilities

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    Is Merrill Edges Guided Investing Free

    Unfortunately not youll need to have a minimum of $5,000 in your account to get started and the service fee will cost you 0.45%.

    What are the potential downsides to MEGI?

    Although MEGI can really help investors along, it doesnt offer tax-loss harvesting. This feature is gaining a lot of traction with robo advisors which might persuade you to go for another broker when it comes down to taxable accounts.

    Merrill Edge Vs Betterment

    Betterment is a robo-advisor thats great for beginners. Betterment Digital is their flagship program.

    It costs 0.25 percent of assets under management and is great for investors with little money to invest and/or those looking for retirement investments. Betterment has a $0 minimum balance requirement and invests in ETFs from 12 different asset classes. Betterment even offers socially responsible investment options.

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    How You Are Protected

    This is important for you because the investor protection amount and the regulator differ from entity to entity. With Merrill Edge this is not an issue as all customers are covered by Bank of America Securities.

    The SIPC investor protection, available to Merrill Edge clients, shields investors from the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of the SIPC protection is $500,000, including $250,000 for cash.

    Not all investments are protected by SIPC. In general, SIPC covers notes, stocks, bonds, mutual fund and other investment company shares, and other registered securities. It does not cover instruments such as unregistered investment contracts, unregistered limited partnerships, fixed annuity contracts, currency, and interests in gold, silver, or other commodity futures contracts or commodity options.

    Merrill Edge investor protection

    FINRAMerrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc

    Merrill Edge does not provide negative balance protection. If the balance on your account goes into negative, you will not be protected.

    Merrill Edge Guided Investing Review 202: Pros Cons And How It Compares

    Merrill Edge Guided Investing Review

    Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list ofour partnersandhere’s how we make money.

    The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

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    Signing Up And Getting Started

    To sign up for a Merrill Edge account, click the red Open an Account button on the top right-hand corner of your browser.

    Next, youll answer a few easy questions about the type of account you want to open.

    Once you pick the type of accountfor example, an online brokerage accountyoull need to enter your personal details.

    Overall, its a pretty easy sign-up process that shouldnt take more than 10 minutes.

    Merrill Edges Guided Investing

    Merrill Edges Guided Investing is a robo advisor platform for Merrill Edge. Considering it only launched in 2017, its pretty much a newcomer in this field.

    MEGI offers customers a portfolio that aligns with their goals and that is built, rebalanced, and monitored by an investment team. This aim of this service is to help newer investors find their feet and stay on track.

    Customers can make use of the brokers investment strategy, portfolio management, and online performance monitoring with this service.

    Investment strategies

    Simply tell the team about yourself and your goals to be recommended, an investment strategy will then be created with a recommended portfolio of ETFs and mutual funds that align with your needs.

    Manage your portfolio

    Merrill Edge take what you like about investing and create a portfolio thats monitored and managed by the team.

    Stay on track

    Your customized dashboard will help you to easily see your portfolios performance and keep your contributions updated.

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