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Bank of America Expands Commission-Free Trades

Ninety-five percent of Merrill Edge Self-Directed trades will now be commission-free, according to a company spokeswoman.

Bank of America has expanded its zero-dollar online trade benefits to all tiers of its Preferred Rewards program for Merrill Edge Self-Directed clients. The company said 87% of Merrill Edge Self-Directed trades were already commission-free. With the move, that would grow to around 95%, spokeswoman Susan Atran said.

 “We began offering zero-dollar trading 13 years ago as one of the many ways we reward clients for doing business with us,” said Aron Levine, head of Consumer Banking and Investments at Bank of America.

Last week, CEO Brian Moynihan also downplayed the recent race to zero by discount brokers Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E*Trade and Fidelity. "The $0 change won’t affect us much," he told Bloomberg.

Raymond James also announced Monday that it would go to $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs and options for the registered investment advisors who custody with the firm, CNBC reports. 

Previously, Merrill Edge Self-Directed clients with more than $20,000 with Bank of America received 10 free trades per month; customers with $50,000 or more received 30 free trades per month; those with $100,000 or more with the bank received 100 free trades per month, Atran said.

In addition to moving to zero-dollar trades for all members of the program, Merrill Edge Self-Directed clients not enrolled in Preferred Rewards will now get flat-rate pricing of $2.95 for online stock and ETF trades—down from $6.95—with no trade or balance minimums. Merrill Edge Self-Directed launched in 2010, and combined client balances across the company’s guided investing and self-directed platforms were approximately $223 billion as of Sept. 30.

Merrill Guided Investing clients also enjoy fee discounts through Preferred Rewards, Atran said. With nearly 6 million members, Preferred Rewards provides members extensive rewards and benefits across their Bank of America deposit accounts, credit cards, mortgages auto loans and Merrill investments, along with exclusive discounts and experiences.

TAGS: ETFs Industry
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