Merrill Edge vs. Vanguard

Order Type
Vanguard’s ethos focuses on a long-term investment philosophy, so the range of brokerage contracts is limited to those that are best suited for buying and keeping investors. The only types of orders you can place are market, limit and stop-limit orders.

Similarly, Merrill Edge supports major order types including market, limit, stop limit and subsequent stop orders across all platforms, but does not offer the advanced conditional orders that active traders want. With both brokers, you can choose a tax-free person when closing a position. When it comes to order types, no broker has a clear advantage over the other.

Trading technology
Vanguard’s order routing technology is as simple as its trading platform. It doesn’t have intelligent order targeting technology, you can’t test or automate your trading strategy, and you can’t target your orders. The broker reported a price adjustment of $0.0192 per share per share order in 2020.

In comparison, Merrill Edge uses Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Smart Order Router (BofAML), which executes orders looking for price adjustments ahead of execution speed. For the second quarter ended June 30, 2021, Merrill’s average execution rate for market orders from 100 to 1,999 for S&P 500 shares was 0.018 seconds.

For the same period and order size, the broker promotes an average savings of USD 15.90 per order, with 98.38% of orders executed at or better than the advertised price. The two brokers should also be congratulated for not accepting payments for order flows from market makers. Overall, we find that the Merrill platform has a slight advantage over Vanguard in terms of its trading technology.

Like many brokers, Merrill Edge and Vanguard do not charge commissions for stock or ETF transactions. Also, there is no commission option on foot. The commission for the contract with Merrill is $0.65 and $1 is used. This means that Vanguard has a $50 order for 50 options contracts, while the same order for Merrill Edge is $32.5.

This makes sense because the ideal Vanguard client has a passive long-term investment philosophy that is unlikely to involve a lot of options trading. Both brokers charge no fees for inactivity, account closing, receiving wire transfers, sending checks, or paper reports and trade confirmations. While Merrill charges an account closing fee of $49.95 for retirement accounts, Vanguard does not.

In addition, Vanguard charges $10 at home and abroad. Sending Telegram with Merrill Edge costs $24.95. In general, both brokers have cheap offers, but if you are not a frequent options trader, Vanguard has a clear advantage in this category.

Accounting and research institute
While Vanguard is a large broker, it has more limited research and account options than you would expect from a larger broker. This is because Vanguard was created to buy and retain investors. In contrast, Merrill Edge has great basic research tools, including an impressive collection of internal and third-party research, as well as stock ratings.

As long as both brokers have stock screening, you cannot search for technical indicators on the Vanguard platform and the screen cannot be turned into a watchlist. In addition, Merrill Edge has options filtering and strategy builder, while Vanguard does not offer options specific filtering tools.

Although Vanguard charts are customizable, technical analysis is not available and customization is limited. MarketPro Merrill Edge offers full charting, customization, and real-time streaming. Both Merrill’s web and mobile platforms have limited charting capabilities, which is good enough for casual long-term investors to trade on the go.

Overall, Merrill Edge has a much better deal than Vanguard as it has news from 30+ sources, a business idea generator, powerful third-party research, a DRIP program, and more. You can still strengthen your financial toolbox with lots of resources with Vanguard, but most of these brokerage tools focus on retirement planning.

Portfolio analysis
Like its account and research capabilities, Merrill’s portfolio analysis capabilities are outstanding. Merrill Portfolio Story is your own tool that shows a complete breakdown of your portfolio not only by sector and holding, but also by performance, analyst ratings and MSCI ESG results. This is a valuable part of portfolio analysis techniques and should be especially useful for new investors.

Vanguard’s portfolio reports and analytics are unstable but are updated in real time on the Vanguard website. Moreover, it is customizable and you can withdraw cash from external accounts. Neither platform has the ability to work with trading magazines to calculate the tax implications of future trading. Overall, however, Merrill Edge has a better portfolio analysis offering than Vanguard.

Vanguard and Merrill Edge provide training resources for their customers. The focus of Vanguard content is to help you set financial goals and create an action plan on how to achieve them. In addition to blogs, articles, webcasts, and other educational resources, Vanguard also offers useful do-it-yourself life planning tools for inexperienced investors.

Merrill Edge Investor Education lets you choose your level of experience or investment subject – such as investing and markets, stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, margin and more. You can also study various investment themes through a number of courses that range from simple to more complex strategies. While Merrill and Vanguard offer a solid education, we found Merrill to be the better choice due to its broad subject coverage and in-depth training.

Customer service
Vanguard customer service is poor compared to Merrill Edge. It has 24/7 phone support, no online chat, and you can’t talk to a live broker. In addition, you will only have access to a financial advisor if you are a Vanguard Personal Services Advisor customer. Merrill Edge offers 24/7 phone support, online chat, and additional personal support at most Bank of America branches. When it comes to customer service, Merrill Edge has a strong advantage over Vanguard.

While both brokers share similar security features, Merrill has an edge over Vanguard in this category due to its additional features, including soft login tokens and high-risk trading permits that can be accessed via SMS, phone, and email. f) Merrill also has a token tool for high-risk trading permits offered through the SafePass card. Additionally, Merrill Edge has an overall impairment limit of $1 billion, while Vanguard has an overall limit of $250 million.