Merrill Investing Reviews: An In-Depth Analysis

Investing your money wisely is crucial for financial growth and stability. One of the popular platforms for investment is Merrill, formerly known as Merrill Lynch. Owned by Bank of America, Merrill offers a range of investment services that cater to different types of investors. This blog post delves into the details of Merrill’s offerings, examining its pros and cons, user experiences, and how it stacks up against competitors.

Overview of Merrill Investing

History and Background

Merrill, founded in 1914, has a long-standing history in the financial industry. Acquired by Bank of America in 2009, it has since been integrated into the bank’s suite of financial services. Merrill offers both self-directed and managed investment options, catering to both novice and experienced investors.

Services Offered

Merrill provides a variety of services:

  • Merrill Edge Self-Directed: A platform for investors who prefer to manage their own portfolios. It offers access to stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, and options.
  • Merrill Guided Investing: An automated investing service that provides professionally managed portfolios.
  • Merrill Lynch Wealth Management: Personalized wealth management services for high-net-worth individuals, including financial planning and advisory services.

Features and Tools

Research and Insights

Merrill offers extensive research and insights, thanks to its integration with Bank of America’s research division. Users have access to:

  • BofA Global Research: High-quality research reports on various sectors and individual securities.
  • Stock and Fund Screeners: Tools to help investors find suitable investments based on their criteria.
  • MarketPro: An advanced trading platform with real-time data, customizable dashboards, and extensive charting tools.

Educational Resources

For those new to investing, Merrill provides a wealth of educational resources. This includes articles, webinars, and tutorials that cover the basics of investing, as well as more advanced topics.

Customer Service

Merrill’s customer service is highly regarded. Investors have access to:

  • 24/7 Phone Support: Available for both self-directed and managed accounts.
  • In-person Consultations: Available at Bank of America branches for a more personalized touch.

Fees and Pricing

Merrill Edge Self-Directed

Merrill Edge offers competitive pricing for self-directed investors:

  • $0 Commission Trades: For online stock, ETF, and options trades.
  • Options Trading: $0.65 per contract.
  • No Account Minimums: Making it accessible for all investors.

Merrill Guided Investing

For those who prefer automated investing:

  • Annual Fee: 0.45% of assets under management, with a minimum investment of $1,000.
  • Personalized Portfolios: Based on investor goals and risk tolerance.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Pricing for wealth management services varies based on the level of service and assets under management. Typically, fees are higher due to the personalized nature of the services provided.

User Experiences and Reviews

Positive Reviews

Many users appreciate Merrill for its:

  • Comprehensive Research: The integration with BofA Global Research provides valuable insights.
  • Robust Tools: MarketPro and other advanced tools are particularly popular among active traders.
  • Customer Support: High-quality, accessible customer service.

Negative Reviews

Some users have noted drawbacks such as:

  • Complexity: The wide range of tools and services can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Fees: While competitive, fees for managed services can add up, especially for smaller portfolios.
  • User Interface: Some users find the interface less intuitive compared to other platforms.

Comparison with Competitors



  • Excellent customer service and educational resources.
  • Lower fees for certain managed accounts.


  • Slightly less robust research tools compared to Merrill.

Charles Schwab


  • Comprehensive services and low-cost trades.
  • Strong customer satisfaction ratings.


  • Research tools are good, but Merrill’s BofA Global Research is often considered superior.



  • Powerful trading tools and a strong mobile app.
  • Competitive pricing and commission-free trades.


  • Research tools are not as extensive as Merrill’s.

Final Thoughts

Merrill stands out as a strong contender in the investing world, particularly for those who value comprehensive research and robust trading tools. Its integration with Bank of America offers added convenience for existing bank customers. However, it may not be the best choice for every investor, particularly those looking for the lowest possible fees or a more streamlined, beginner-friendly interface.

When choosing an investment platform, consider your individual needs, investment style, and the features most important to you. Merrill’s diverse offerings and extensive resources make it a worthy option for many, but always compare with other platforms to ensure you’re making the best choice for your financial future.

In conclusion, Merrill offers a solid suite of investment services backed by a reputable institution. Whether you’re a self-directed investor or looking for managed services, Merrill provides a range of tools and resources to help you achieve your financial goals.

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