Merrill Edge transaction fee?

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Topic Author
fittan
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by fittan »

Hi,
I recently moved from all my fund from Fidelity to Merrill Edge for the bonus and because I heard great reviews about ME from this forum. However I am having a bad experience thus far. I would like to know if my experience is legit or I am missing something.

1) Initially I tried to buy Fidelity S&P index fund like FSKAX or FXAIX. After being blocked and a few calls to ME agent later, I was told these fund cannot be traded via ME. What?

2) Fine...If I can't buy Fidelity, I will go with Vanguard. So I decided to buy VTSAX. When I was about to submit, I see a $19.95 transaction fee. What???

These funds above are simply S&P index fund and not something exotic. Am I missing something? Thanks all.
Tingting1013
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by Tingting1013 »

Buy ETFs not mutual funds
123
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by 123 »

fittan wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:01 pm ...So I decided to buy VTSAX. When I was about to submit, I see a $19.95 transaction fee. What???...
I've paid much more than that at Fideltiy and Schwab (something like $50 - $75) as a transaction fee for a Vanguard Fund purchase (happened to be a LifeStrategy fund). It was for single 100% long-term buy-and-hold positions in large accounts. The fee was inconsequential given the size of the transaction and the frequency of account trading (once).

It all depends on what brokerage firm works out best for you depending on what you prioritize.

At most brokerages these days you have the option of zero cost ETF trades (except for a tiny tiny regulator fee in some cases). If I expected to do ongoing purchases in an account I would try to use ETFs when faced with mutual fund transaction fees.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
Hyperchicken
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by Hyperchicken »

The reason to use Merrill Edge is for the Preferred Rewards benefits. Other than that, it's an OK brokerage, but I would not call it great. If you just need a brokerage and don't care about Preferred Rewards, you may be better off using something else.

If you decide to stay with ME, you pretty much have to use ETFs. That, or pick mutual funds from their NTF (no trading fee) list. I looked at it once, and the options were not great.
abracadabra11
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by abracadabra11 »

You should generally expect to pay a fee when purchasing mutual funds at an institution other than the issuing institution. Each of the major brokerages have a variety of no-fee mutual funds, but they don't normally cover competitors' offerings.

You have a few options:
1. Open an account at the institution that issues the mutual fund (i.e. Vanguard for VTSAX, Fidelity for FKIAX)
2. Purchase the corresponding ETF at any brokerage at no-cost
3. Explore other brokerages (i.e. Etrade has a large list of no-cost Vanguard mutual funds available)
rascott
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:53 am

Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by rascott »

fittan wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:01 pm Hi,
I recently moved from all my fund from Fidelity to Merrill Edge for the bonus and because I heard great reviews about ME from this forum. However I am having a bad experience thus far. I would like to know if my experience is legit or I am missing something.

1) Initially I tried to buy Fidelity S&P index fund like FSKAX or FXAIX. After being blocked and a few calls to ME agent later, I was told these fund cannot be traded via ME. What?

2) Fine...If I can't buy Fidelity, I will go with Vanguard. So I decided to buy VTSAX. When I was about to submit, I see a $19.95 transaction fee. What???

These funds above are simply S&P index fund and not something exotic. Am I missing something? Thanks all.
Pretty normal at most all brokerages. If you want no transaction fee mutual funds you need to have your account at that brokerage (Vanguard for VG funds, Fidelity for Fido funds, Schwab, e.t.c....)

Chase You Invest is the only broker I've seen that lets you buy VG funds for no fee.

Buy ETFs at Merrill.

You can buy plenty of NTF mutual funds, but they are going to be high ER funds.... where I assume the fund kicks back something to the broker.
terran
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by terran »

I've also moved some money from Fidelity to Merrill Edge for the bonus, and also am not super impressed and wouldn't go with them other than for the bonus and will be be moving back or elsewhere for another bonus later. As others have said, if you're going to move accounts around you're much better off with ETFs which now trade commission free at most major brokerages. They're also more tax efficient in a taxable account. VTI or ITOT would be good options for a total US market fund and VXUS or IXUS for a total international market fund.
atdharris
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by atdharris »

Buy ETFs. ME charges for Vanguard mutual funds unless you already own the fund, in which case you can set up an automatic transaction to avoid the fee. I wish I had ETFs now in my Roth, but I will need to pay $60 if I am to sell the mutual funds now, so I keep contributing to them each year.
Topic Author
fittan
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by fittan »

OP here. Thanks everyone. I will buy ETF as advised.
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Croissant
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by Croissant »

I'm moving my money from Merrill Edge to Schwab per recommendation from the forum. in my experience the customer service was good, site interface was good as well, but trading service seem to go down more often than schwab and others in times of high volume.
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TheDDC
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by TheDDC »

A member of this site who is a ME account holder posted that it is possible to buy Vanguard funds via an automatic investment plan at ME. It is not available for all mutual funds but I believe VTSAX and VTIAX are available via this method.

To the OP: can you verify this is possible by setting up an automatic investment plan?

-TheDDC
Rules to wealth building: 75-80% VTSAX piled high and deep, 20-25% VTIAX, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to medical-industrial complex
Topic Author
fittan
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by fittan »

TheDDC wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:15 am A member of this site who is a ME account holder posted that it is possible to buy Vanguard funds via an automatic investment plan at ME. It is not available for all mutual funds but I believe VTSAX and VTIAX are available via this method.

To the OP: can you verify this is possible by setting up an automatic investment plan?

-TheDDC
OP here. I just tried setup an automatic investment plan but it gave a message "This account has no mutual funds eligible for automatic investment plan". My guess is that you need to own the fund first (which makes sense). I think once you have the fund, subsequent auto investment would be fee-free. However I would still be charged $19.95 for initial buy (which is what I am trying to avoid).
Explorer
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Re: Merrill Edge transaction fee?

Post by Explorer »

fittan wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:49 am
TheDDC wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:15 am A member of this site who is a ME account holder posted that it is possible to buy Vanguard funds via an automatic investment plan at ME. It is not available for all mutual funds but I believe VTSAX and VTIAX are available via this method.

To the OP: can you verify this is possible by setting up an automatic investment plan?

-TheDDC
OP here. I just tried setup an automatic investment plan but it gave a message "This account has no mutual funds eligible for automatic investment plan". My guess is that you need to own the fund first (which makes sense). I think once you have the fund, subsequent auto investment would be fee-free. However I would still be charged $19.95 for initial buy (which is what I am trying to avoid).
You can not avoid $19.95 fee (which by the way is lower than most other places). There are a few VG funds (such as VTSAX) where there is no minimum to buy unlike at Vanguard with $3,000. So, for example, you can place a trade to buy VTSAX at ME for $1 and pay $19.95. Wallah, you got yourself VTSAX. Then schedule weekly autoinvest which is free.

I have accounts at several brokerages, and for VG funds you want to hold outside of VG, I think ME is the best. I also hold a lot of VG funds at ME for that credit card bonus :wink: :wink:

What I did was to move a few shares from my VG account to ME via their online transfer interface, and 7 days later I have seed corn sitting in ME and I activated auto invest weekly.
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