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My story starts with me opening a regular BoA checking/savings account (some sort of college version I believe), along with a BoA credit card. I used BoA as my primary bank, keeping an average of between 10K-20K in my accounts. Starting a few months ago, my account started displaying "Welcome wealth management banking client" when I logged into the BoA website. I ordered new checks, which also displayed "Wealth Management Banking" on them. Service, both by tellers and over the phone, improved significantly. I didn't know why I was receiving the perks, but thought there was no harm in continuing to enjoy them without pushing for an explanation and risking loosing them.

I recently called in to ask about a transaction in my checking account (long story short, a bank error caused a $1000 payment to me show up as a $10 payment, which was quickly resolved). What threw me off guard is the fact that when I called, the phone was instantly answered by a rep who seemed a bit flustered that I was calling. He let me know I could call "my" private banker next time anything came up, and reminded me of his name and phone number. I googled his name and it turns out he is a Merril Lynch advisor. The strange thing is...I have never had any contact with BoA other than my basic checking/savings/credit card...so what is going on?

Is "wealth management banking" actually some sort of private banking, or just a watered down retail program? If it's the former, I should probably dig deeper to figure out whats going on. If it's the latter, I'll just enjoy it while it lasts. Anyone know what this is, or have advice on whether I should pursue this further or just enjoy the perks while they last?

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I had enough assets to qualify for the Wealth Management program, and was led to inquire.

Talking to my Merrill Edge rep... (more)

ProfessorEd (Apr. 15, 2013 @ 1:27p) |

Is this usable for monthly small investments in individual stocks? I have some DRIPs that charge a fee for each purchas... (more)

steve1jr (Apr. 19, 2013 @ 9:05a) |

In general yes. However, I believe you would need to buy at least whole shares.

ProfessorEd (Apr. 19, 2013 @ 3:45p) |

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Do you have a bunch of money with Bofa or Merrill lynch?

If no, does anyone in your family ? You may have status via. "Household " assets.

If no, do you work for a law firm
Or other prestigious business? All employees may have been designated a private banker

If no, it's probably just an error that your account has been assigned to wealth management division

a) Assets: I have no significant assets with BoA or Merril.
b) Household: I am unaware of any family member who does, but will ask. (would they automatically link me up even if I never requested it?)
c) Job: Currently a student, so doesn't apply
d) Bank error

So, a and c are eliminated. If it is b, I can just keep it as is. What should I do if I find out it is simply a bank error? Is this something I should get corrected?

Bank error in your favor, collect $200.

If no fees start showing up, no need to get anything corrected. Try to find out what other perks you're entitled to as a wealth management banking client, sir.

Doesn't sound like this applies to you, but a Merrill or (former) Countrywide mortgage could qualify you for wealth management banking as well.

jp520 - from what i can tell 'Wealth Management Banking Client' just means the investing side of BoA, as opposed to the savings side. it doesn't seem like anything special.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/planning/investment.go

I think your account was migrated in error. Usually wealth management banking requires at least 250k in deposits or invest-able balance funds.

Some benefits/perks of "Wealth Management Banking"
one you discovered - Priority 24/7 customer service at contact centers
No maintenance fee on advantage checking account
priority processing on loans and potentially preferred rates
personal services from registered professionals - Meryll Lynch
no fee online banking
No fee for travelers checks or stop payments
Low rate and no annual fee on platinum visas
Withdrawals up to 1500 on Platinum priority debit card per day of available balance
No fee safe deposit box - standard size
wealth management banking checks and a leather checkbook cover with no fee
bonus rates on CD's of newly invested funds over 5,000

cyberl0k said:   I think your account was migrated in error. Usually wealth management banking requires at least 250k in deposits or invest-able balance funds.

Some benefits/perks of "Wealth Management Banking"
one you discovered - Priority 24/7 customer service at contact centers
No maintenance fee on advantage checking account
priority processing on loans and potentially preferred rates
personal services from registered professionals - Meryll Lynch
no fee online banking
No fee for travelers checks or stop payments
Low rate and no annual fee on platinum visas
Withdrawals up to 1500 on Platinum priority debit card per day of available balance
No fee safe deposit box - standard size
wealth management banking checks and a leather checkbook cover with no fee
bonus rates on CD's of newly invested funds over 5,000


Just opened up my BOA checking account statement whch has "wealth mamagement banking" on it (not $250,000. balance across BOA owned accounts). Can you provide a link or tell us where you saw this information (interested in free safe deposit box). Thanks.

cows123 said:   
Just opened up my BOA checking account (not $250,000. balance across BOA owned accounts). Can you provide a link or tell us where you saw this information (interested in free safe deposit box). Thanks.


To verify any specific details, you would need to contact a representative from the Merrill Edge Advisory Center.

http://www.merrilledge.com/why-merrill-edge/integration

The website references a "Platinum Privileges" with account minimum of $50k. This type of account is different than the "Wealth Management Banking Client" as far as I know.

OP if it is possible please link my BOA account to yours also as household, would be nice to get the same perks lol, though I have no complaints their local branches have enough eye candy

Be very wary. BofA is working you.

The higher ATM withdrawals could be a problem, i.e. in case of theft.

when I originally signed up w/ Merrill Lynch, I went into their Wealth Management group & they take a certain percentage of your total investments with them as their yearly payment. It's like 1-3%. Can be a lot of $. You may want to make sure your not going to get gouged with a high priced fee.

Been over 5 years since I had any decent money in BoA, less than $300 since then, but still have the "Wealth Management Client". The priority phone you get does give great service

Chatted with a family member, who turns out to have some assets with BoA which qualify him for Wealth Mgmt. I originally set up the account with the same address he uses, so they probably linked it as a result.


BitemeIamtoxic said:   Be very wary. BofA is working you.

The higher ATM withdrawals could be a problem, i.e. in case of theft.


Toxic, mind elaborating on what I should be watching out for?

UtiPlayer, I feel pretty safe as a) haven't had any fees charged, only waived, and b) I would have had to sign something to allow them to do so. But thanks for the heads up, I'll keep an eye out for that.

RS4Rings, thanks for the response. Looks like I have nothing to worry about and can continue to enjoy the perks.

jp520 said:   Chatted with a family member, who turns out to have some assets with BoA which qualify him for Wealth Mgmt. I originally set up the account with the same address he uses, so they probably linked it as a result.


BitemeIamtoxic said:   Be very wary. BofA is working you.

The higher ATM withdrawals could be a problem, i.e. in case of theft.


Toxic, mind elaborating on what I should be watching out for?

UtiPlayer, I feel pretty safe as a) haven't had any fees charged, only waived, and b) I would have had to sign something to allow them to do so. But thanks for the heads up, I'll keep an eye out for that.

RS4Rings, thanks for the response. Looks like I have nothing to worry about and can continue to enjoy the perks.



I think what they meant is normally your ATM withdrawals are capped lower than 1500 per day, so if someone stole your card and wanted to drain your account they could do so faster and with less transactions. This is a very unlikely downside. I personally had my account drained once and withdrawal limits didn't seem to stop them but BoA was very good with restoring the cash.

Ah thanks. I try to protect myself from that by only keeping what I need for outstanding checks/pending payments in my checking account, and the rest in an unlinked savings account (no overdraft protection into the checking). Only I have the info for the savings account, so (assuming I am not hacked online), someone who steals my debit card info/check info wouldn't walk away with much.

Edit: and, as you mentioned, it is more of an inconvenience issue as BoA would return the funds lost to fraud.

That would be horrible... if my family figured out that I had any money.

Crazytree said:   That would be horrible... if my family figured out that I had any money.
A lot of banks automatically "household. "
Accounts for status .

So if you have a high tier relationship with a bank
Your relative uses, might want to let your personal banker know not to household the status to others

I used to work for Bank of Americas Global Wealth and Investment Management (GWIM) pre-Merrill Lynch merger. They used to have a premier banking side where if you had over $100k combined across bank and brokerage accounts, you would get many perks. One such perk, you get priority service and they can go back and and waive and reverse fees at their discretion. You should call in, get fees waived get a fancy leather checkbook, get a storage box though if your status changes, you will becharged the annual fee. Get level 2 streaming quotes. Get 25 free trades. Though a lot has probably changed since I worked there.

So the wealth management status is sticky for life regardless of balance. Any insight on how quickly one gets wealth management status after transferring 250k in, and if there's adverse consequences if I move it right back out after getting it? I get 360 free trades per year with plat priv status, but I have to keep 50k in. Would be nice to be able to freely move the money out at a moments notice to pursue other opportunities without worrying about losing the free trades and the fee waivers. And who wouldn't want a leather checkbook cover.

I'm not sure of when they did the snapshot of accounts. That was something done in the operations group. I was also on the brokerage side. Meaning if you called in to place a trade because the website used to suck so much, you probably have spoken with me at some point. Once you transfer the assets in and get the premier or private status, ask for platinum cards, get the direct dial numbers with better service and no phone trees, get all your fees waived, if you have a client manager try and establish a relationship because they will be there to bend over backwards to keep you business by waiving fees expediting processes and other stuff the 99% can't even imagine. Bank of America had a black card with concierge who would do anything for you, most of the time it did cost you money but still, to live like a rock superstar.

Not sure how much has changed since I've worked there but private banker at bank of america is nothing but a senior teller with limited power. Private Banker means why do you have millions with this bank? Premier banker means better service, less fees, etc...but they killed off the premier bankers and transferred calls to the premier relationship center. The brokers were located in Waltham, Ma, Lincoln, RI, and Charlotte NC but they were transferred to branches as Merrill associates

So is it better to be classified as Merrill lynch wealth management than Bofa private bank customer ?

I have kept money at BOA so as to be a client. currently, by lending them $.01 at zero interest, I am a customer and can get notary services. I lack the type of fancy accountthat lets you talk to a teller, but as a courtesy the notary did take a few hundred I had in cash and deposit it for me.

However, as discussed in the thread I started on brokerage bonuses, they are offering assorted bonuses, such as $50 for a 529 account, and $600 for a $200,000 deposit. If you take advantage of some of these it appears you get over $50,000 and become able to get Platinum status which gets you 25 free trades per month and other privileges. While most firms read the law of being that you cannot get benefits from a 529 plan or an IRA (these would be withdrawals), BOA includes 529 plans and IRA's in the total and I am told that once you reach $50,000 you get these, and can allocate them among various accounts. thus, a combination of three 529 plans plus a ROTH with my wife is expected to reach this. The 529 plans never incur commissions, but I understand they will help my wife have 25 free trades for her Roth, and her regular brokerage account.

The privileges apparently extend to the BOA side where joint account is joint (which means we can both benefit from having $01. cent on deposit interest free). BOA staff died not know what we would get from this status since it originate with the Merrill Edge side (we could get it by keeping a large sum with BOA, but that does not make sense). Anybody know whether we will get anything of enough value to get the account with BOA reclassified (and risk having to do work later to change the account type if the invested money falls below $50,000, as it could.

It is probably worth doing since there is a dedicated call center whose service is likely to be better than that of the regular BOA ones (which are poor in my experience).

The benefits are discussed at https://olui2.fs.ml.com/SVE/CSE/Common/Pages/ArticleViewer.aspx?...

One of the privileges of Platinum Privileges is that I could apply for the the Bank Americard Privileges® credit card with Cash Back or the Bank Americard Privileges® credit card with Travel Rewards. The Cash Back version appears to be the usual 1,2,3% Cash Back card (of which I have three already). You get an extra 50% when deposited to BOA bank account. This is unattractive for me since I have several 2% cards, and other card that give more generous rewards for gasoline and groceries.

However, the Bank Americard Privileges® credit card with Travel Rewards appears more attractive. Reading the description it appears it gives 2 points per dollar spent, and these can be redeemed against travel expenses. It is not perfectly clear how the redemption works or at what rate, but may be attractive. The travel category appears to include not only the obvious airlines, cruises, etc. but some commuter type charges such as buses, ferries, and things like amusement parks. Just possibly enough of these might be incurred, at least to some people, to make the points actually worth $.02 each. If you are not traveling overnight you may not have the expenses to redeem against plane tickets etc., or may have to wait a long time to use them. However, at least some people have lots of commuter type expenses, or other expenses that they could get rebates against.

I would presume that you still have to apply for the card and pass the usual credit checks, but the card may be worth having. I suspect that once you have it, you could retain it even if you lose your Platinum Privileges status at some future date (although I think they start charging you an annual fee). A web search showed little discussion, but one mentioned a 10% bonus if the rebates were deposited to your BOA account.Another said it was not now being offered, although I learned of it from BOA sites. Possibly they have closed it to the general public, but still making it available to those with Platinum Privilege.

In discussion of 2% credit cards I have not seen this one mentioned, and wondered if anyone had any experience with it?

ProfessorEd said:   However, the Bank Americard Privileges® credit card with Travel Rewards appears more attractive. Reading the description it appears it gives 2 points per dollar spent, and these can be redeemed against travel expenses. It is not perfectly clear how the redemption works or at what rate, but may be attractive. The travel category appears to include not only the obvious airlines, cruises, etc. but some commuter type charges such as buses, ferries, and things like amusement parks. Just possibly enough of these might be incurred, at least to some people, to make the points actually worth $.02 each. If you are not traveling overnight you may not have the expenses to redeem against plane tickets etc., or may have to wait a long time to use them. However, at least some people have lots of commuter type expenses, or other expenses that they could get rebates against.

The card also gives you a 10% "bonus" at the end of each year (1 point per $10 spent) to give you a total of 2.1 points per dollar.

At worst, these can be redeemed for cash at 1¢ each, although I believe you need to redeem a large number at a time (10k or 25k, not sure) to get that redemption rate.

Thanks.

I believe 2.1% exceeds 2%, so I wonder why this card has not been discussed more on Fatwallet or elsewhere., since it seems to beat my other 2% type cards (FIA Fidelity 529, FIA Fidelity American Express, and Priceline). A web search turns up mainly discussion of the BankAmericard Privileges Visa Signature Cash Rewards Card. see for instance:

http://creditcardforum.com/blog/bankamericard-privileges-card-re...

I just wired Merrill a couple of hundred grand for their $600 promotion for a new brokerage account, and for the privilege of applying for this card.

In your experience was it hard to redeem for the 2.1% return, or were the large redemption requirements too hard to meet, or the required type of bank account otherwise unattractive?

The BOA description of the card is below. They do not say what a "qualifying bank account is", or which affiliates of BOA you can keep the $50,0000 with. The Merrill Edge representatives state they qualify, but know little about what privileges having Platinum Privilege status gets you, and my local BOA branch knows only that I get it if I keep $50,000 with BOA (unattractive fro me given their low interest rates), but nothing about what happens if you have it with Merrill Edge. As I read it, if I have a BOA account (and I do), and if my $.01 with BOA is combined with my Merrill Edge accounts to exceed $50,000 I qualify.

"BankAmericard Privileges® credit card with Travel RewardsFootnote 2

Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on purchases
No limit to the total number of points you can earn and points don’t expire
Simply pay for your travel with your card. Then, call or go online and you can redeem your points for a statement credit towards all or part of your travel purchases.
Plus you’ll automatically receive an annual 10% customer points bonus on your total purchases when you have a qualifying Bank of America account
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, $75 fee thereafter. The fee will be waived each year if you maintain at least $50,000 in assets with Bank of America or its affiliates."

The description of the reward process is below. This is for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card whose rewards are stated to be 1.5 points per dollar spent, but I hope the Privileges version is the same with regard to these details.

https://www.managerewardsonline.bankofamerica.com/RWDapp/home?mc...

The $25 amount for redemption is the same as for Priceline. the "travel" category appears to be broadly defined and some who do not make long distance trips may find other redemption opportunities,such as local buses or possibly subways (anyone know), or "attractions" or "rental agencies."

"You can redeem Points for a statement credit in U.S. dollars to offset qualifying travel purchases ("Travel Credit"). To obtain a Travel Credit visit the Site or telephone us. The redemption value for Points redeemed for Travel Credits may vary and is subject to change. Current Travel Credit values and their respective Points requirements can be obtained by signing into the Site. A Travel Credit will only be available to redeem for purchases from the Travel Center or for qualifying travel purchases made elsewhere as defined by the following merchant category codes ("MCC"): (a). Airlines, Air Carriers (MCC Codes 3000-3299, 4511) or (b). Lodging-Hotels, Motels, Resorts (MCC codes 3501-3999, 7011) or (c). Car Rental Agencies (MCC codes 3351-3441, 7512, 4121) or (d) Cruise Lines (MCC code 4411) or Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (MCC codes 4722, 4416, 4417) or (e) Passenger Railways (MCC code 4112) or (f)Transportation-Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger, including Ferries (MCC Code 4111) or (g) Bus Lines (MCC codes 4131, 4722) or (h) Transportation Services—not elsewhere classified (MCC code 4789 or (i) Real Estate Agents and Managers—Rentals (MCC code 6513) or (j) Timeshares (MCC code 7012) or (k) Campgrounds and Trailer Parks (MCC Code 7033) or (l)Motor Home and Recreational Vehicle Rental (MCC Code 7519) or (m) Tourist Attractions and Exhibits (MCC Code 7991, 5971) or (n) Amusement Parks, Carnivals, Circuses, Fortune Tellers (MCC Code 7996) or (o) Aquariums, Dolphinariums, Zoos, and Seaquariums (MCC Code 7998) or (p) Boat Leases and Boat Rentals (MCC Code 4457) or (q) Recreation Services-not elsewhere classified (MCC 7999). The minimum redemption value for a Travel Credit is $25. This can be comprised of a single credit that equals at least $25 or multiple individual credits that total at least $25 redeemed in one event. Purchases will be available for redemption for a Travel Credit on the Site for a period of 6 months from the posting date of the transaction and by phone for a period of 12 months from the posting date of the transaction.
Redeemed Points will be deducted from your Points balance on the date you request the Travel Credit. Travel Credits will be applied to your existing balance with the highest priced Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Receipt of a Travel Credit does not affect your responsibility to pay your Total Minimum Payment shown on each Statement you receive from us.
Merchandise and Gift Certificate Rewards"
Redeem Points for merchandise, gift cards or certificate selections at the Site or through the Redemption Center. All redemptions are final. The selection of items and the number of Points needed to obtain them may change at any time. Rewards are shipped prepaid. Returns or exchanges are only permitted for damaged or defective Rewards. The return must occur within"

Professor Ed,

The platinum Privileges program is simply that a program. It is not tied to a specific account type but rather looks at your total assets between BofA and Merrill. You do not need to change your account type to receive the platinum privileges perks which can be located at bankofamerica.com/platinumprivileges. However, to qualify for the platinum privileges program there is one key requirement besides the $50,000 dollars in combined assets with Merrill/Bofa and that is that you must have an active personal checking account.

Some of the perks you qualify for are free:
standard checks
overdraft protection transfers
cashiers checks
stop payments
inbound wire transfers
small safe deposit box
30 free online equity and ETF trades per month
annual fee waiver on platinum privileges cash rewards or travel rewards cards.

Joe1690 said:   Professor Ed,

The platinum Privileges program is simply that a program. It is not tied to a specific account type but rather looks at your total assets between BofA and Merrill. You do not need to change your account type to receive the platinum privileges perks which can be located at bankofamerica.com/platinumprivileges. However, to qualify for the platinum privileges program there is one key requirement besides the $50,000 dollars in combined assets with Merrill/Bofa and that is that you must have an active personal checking account.

Some of the perks you qualify for are free:
standard checks
overdraft protection transfers
cashiers checks
stop payments
inbound wire transfers
small safe deposit box
30 free online equity and ETF trades per month
annual fee waiver on platinum privileges cash rewards or travel rewards cards.


What does active mean? You mean if I do nothing with my current $.01 account I do not qualify? To me the 30 free trades are worth something, and possibly the Platinium Privileges Travel Rewards card, at least if it does turn out to be a 2.1% card. The others would be nice if you did a lot of banking there, but I find Internet based banks have much better interest rates.

Professor Ed,

Good question as to what active means. While I don't work for Bank of America, I do remember receiving correspondence last year when they were changing the program that used the word active. I have just assumed that you needed to have a transaction on each monthly statement cycle so automated a recurring monthly pull from my other bank into the BofA checking account each month. So far this has worked to qualify for the program.

I talked to Merrill Edge about getting the Wealth Management status after our families funds with them exceed the $250,000 level (which is expected once one of the transfer in process is completed. He said it would not be good because it would cancel the Platinum Pr4ivleges status since it was aimed at selling the higher fee products they had.

Only some of the Platinum Privilege Features appear to worth much for my family, (which I would argue is typical of many sophisticated Fat Wallet members).

The most valuable is the 30 free trades per month. This is obviously good is you are an active trader. It is also worth something just for investing the funds brought in, or taking them out.
Using these to become an active trader if one is not would probably be a mistake. There is evidence that the active traders do worse, especially after taxes, due to spreads, and a reduced number of long term capital gains, and simple overconfidence.

Having free trades can make it easier to be fully invested. The free trades do not cover mutual funds, so one implication is to use ETF's when one might have once used mutual funds. Since having the free trades probably makes using ETF more attractive than mutual funds, let us look at the investor who uses them (or individual stocks)

The traditional strategy to minimize commissions has been to accumulate savings in a bank account, and every so often to invest it. This might have been once every few months. With multiple trades per month free, one may invest some from each paycheck. If one needs money, one can probably liquidate a few shares. this makes it possible to reduce the size of the bank account held for emergencies and to take advantage of sales etc.

With some stocks and exchange traded funds there is a risk of moving the market when buying or selling. Having this many trades can make it practical to build or liquidate a position over a period of several days.

I have had some success in using limit order so I only bought when someone else was anxious to sell and giving a price discount. However, every so often this resulted in paying a commission that was high in relation to the size of the trade. One might have a limit order in for 10,000 shares at $1. Usually I would get it while a market order might have cost !.10 or so. However, every so often someone wanted to unload only 100 shares and you ended up buying one hundred shares for $100, and paying a full commission.

Likewise when trying to get out of a position.

Only one of the banking related features appears valuable to me.

This is getting and avoiding the annual fee on the Privileges Travel Rewards card (the only card giving over 2% back in cash I know of), whose advantages is the subject of a separate thread.

The other banking features are less valuable simply because BOA banking is non-competitive with various internet based banks and credit unions. Hence slightly higher interest rates on products, or lower fees are not worth much.

The no fees on overdraft protection sounds nice, but it turns out to cover only transfer from your savings account. It does not protect you fee if you have set things up for a credit card to provide overdraft protection. Because BOA savings account rates are low, keeping much money there is unlikely and hence the overdraft protection will be low.

I much prefer the arrangement I have at Schwab where overdraft are covered from my margin account there, then from my savings, and then from an overdraft line of credit.

If you are to keep a personal checking account at BOA, probably because of a conveniently located branch (and use it, rather than just having it to qualify for Platinum Privileges status), this could be worth something, and might justify keeping a few hundred in a linked savings account to provide overdraft protection.

The small safe deposit box could be nice, and there are probably some who would use other features.

Notice that taking advantage of these features may cost you flexibility in how you manage your financial affairs (which is one reason they offer it). If you bonus chase, change your brokerage, or simply take funds out for other uses, you may find you lose the Platinum Privilege status and suddenly you need to pay for the safe deposit box, and that the tightly managed checking account is now exposed to overdraft fees if something goes wrong (forcing you to keep larger reserves, or find another bank where you are less vulnerable). You may have to pay the annual fee on a credit card, or risk losing unredeemed points, etc.

They appear to evaluate your eligibility once a month, so a market decline, or a job loss (followed by taking funds out for living expenses)could cause you to lose eligibility (obviously more of a concern if you barely exceed $50,000 in assets, than if you are well over this limit). Since IRA and 529 plans are not often drawn down, having them as part of the $50,000 reduces the risk of being forced below $50,000.

Thus, even after qualifying for this program, it is not enough to make me choose BOA as my main bank (even though there is a very convenient branch near me).

ProfessorEd said:   Only some of the Platinum Privilege Features appear to worth much for my family, (which I would argue is typical of many sophisticated Fat Wallet members).

The most valuable is the 30 free trades per month. This is obviously good is you are an active trader. It is also worth something just for investing the funds brought in, or taking them out.
Using these to become an active trader if one is not would probably be a mistake. There is evidence that the active traders do worse, especially after taxes, due to spreads, and a reduced number of long term capital gains, and simple overconfidence.

Having free trades can make it easier to be fully invested. The free trades do not cover mutual funds, so one implication is to use ETF's when one might have once used mutual funds. Since having the free trades probably makes using ETF more attractive than mutual funds, let us look at the investor who uses them (or individual stocks)

The traditional strategy to minimize commissions has been to accumulate savings in a bank account, and every so often to invest it. This might have been once every few months. With multiple trades per month free, one may invest some from each paycheck. If one needs money, one can probably liquidate a few shares. this makes it possible to reduce the size of the bank account held for emergencies and to take advantage of sales etc.

With some stocks and exchange traded funds there is a risk of moving the market when buying or selling. Having this many trades can make it practical to build or liquidate a position over a period of several days.

I have had some success in using limit order so I only bought when someone else was anxious to sell and giving a price discount. However, every so often this resulted in paying a commission that was high in relation to the size of the trade. One might have a limit order in for 10,000 shares at $1. Usually I would get it while a market order might have cost !.10 or so. However, every so often someone wanted to unload only 100 shares and you ended up buying one hundred shares for $100, and paying a full commission.

Likewise when trying to get out of a position.

I'm sure you realize you don't need Platinum Privileges status for 30 free trades per month.

http://www.merrilledge.com/zero-dollar-trades

Qualify for 30 commission-free online equity and ETF trades per month when you: have a balance of $25,000 in your Bank of America deposit accounts, or have $25,000 in cash in your Merrill Edge self-directed accounts, or maintain Platinum Privileges® status.

ProfessorEd said:   Only one of the banking related features appears valuable to me.
Notice that taking advantage of these features may cost you flexibility in how you manage your financial affairs (which is one reason they offer it). If you bonus chase, change your brokerage, or simply take funds out for other uses, you may find you lose the Platinum Privilege status and suddenly you need to pay for the safe deposit box, and that the tightly managed checking account is now exposed to overdraft fees if something goes wrong (forcing you to keep larger reserves, or find another bank where you are less vulnerable). You may have to pay the annual fee on a credit card, or risk losing unredeemed points, etc.

They appear to evaluate your eligibility once a month, so a market decline, or a job loss (followed by taking funds out for living expenses)could cause you to lose eligibility (obviously more of a concern if you barely exceed $50,000 in assets, than if you are well over this limit). Since IRA and 529 plans are not often drawn down, having them as part of the $50,000 reduces the risk of being forced below $50,000.

Thus, even after qualifying for this program, it is not enough to make me choose BOA as my main bank (even though there is a very convenient branch near me).


They aren't agressive at all about downgrading your accounts though. I was upgraded in December 2011 after temporarily having some downpayment money setting in a checking account for a few weeks. From January 2012 to January 2013, I had less than 20k in my BoA accounts, and was not downgraded. I've since moved some money into MerrilEdge IRAs and am above the limit, so I can't continue that test.

glxpass said:   ProfessorEd said:   Only some of the Platinum Privilege Features appear to worth much for my family, (which I would argue is typical of many sophisticated Fat Wallet members).

The most valuable is the 30 free trades per month. This is obviously good is you are an active trader. It is also worth something just for investing the funds brought in, or taking them out.
Using these to become an active trader if one is not would probably be a mistake. There is evidence that the active traders do worse, especially after taxes, due to spreads, and a reduced number of long term capital gains, and simple overconfidence.

Having free trades can make it easier to be fully invested. The free trades do not cover mutual funds, so one implication is to use ETF's when one might have once used mutual funds. Since having the free trades probably makes using ETF more attractive than mutual funds, let us look at the investor who uses them (or individual stocks)

The traditional strategy to minimize commissions has been to accumulate savings in a bank account, and every so often to invest it. This might have been once every few months. With multiple trades per month free, one may invest some from each paycheck. If one needs money, one can probably liquidate a few shares. this makes it possible to reduce the size of the bank account held for emergencies and to take advantage of sales etc.

With some stocks and exchange traded funds there is a risk of moving the market when buying or selling. Having this many trades can make it practical to build or liquidate a position over a period of several days.

I have had some success in using limit order so I only bought when someone else was anxious to sell and giving a price discount. However, every so often this resulted in paying a commission that was high in relation to the size of the trade. One might have a limit order in for 10,000 shares at $1. Usually I would get it while a market order might have cost !.10 or so. However, every so often someone wanted to unload only 100 shares and you ended up buying one hundred shares for $100, and paying a full commission.

Likewise when trying to get out of a position.

I'm sure you realize you don't need Platinum Privileges status for 30 free trades per month.

http://www.merrilledge.com/zero-dollar-trades

Qualify for 30 commission-free online equity and ETF trades per month when you: have a balance of $25,000 in your Bank of America deposit accounts, or have $25,000 in cash in your Merrill Edge self-directed accounts, or maintain Platinum Privileges® status.


As I read it, for $25,000 cash in the Merrill Edge account you do get 30 free trades. However, you do not if there is less cash (and more securities). Merrill confirmed this. You can get 30 free trades for $25,000 in cash, and Merrill or BOA will pay you their usual .01% or .1% (I did not catch which it was) for use of your money. To me, this is not a good deal.

However, this can be useful however in one situation. Say you are sending over $25,000 plus (but less than $50,000) in cash. You would qualify for 30 free trades immediately (and they said if there was a delay in the system, you culd get the commissions credited back). This would let you get the funds invested without paying commissions. Because they calculate the status once per month, you would have time to do the investing. However, after the initial month you would be paying commissions.

However, if you can get assets up to over $50,000 (and keep them at that level) you have 30 free trades every month, which should cover most investors needs.

I have WM through household grandfathering. Made me look into the "premium" banking levels at various different banks. Lots of perks, not much that I would use. Looked into Bofa/Merrill credit cards and weren't too impressed (ended up with premium AMEX and Chase products).

I've used 1 or 2 free cashier's checks, thinking about getting a free safe deposit box, and customer service is slightly better. Overall, I wouldn't pay Bofa for this service though I haven't found a premium banking service worth getting (I haven't needed in-person help so USAA banking service is still my go-to).

ProfessorEd said:   glxpass said:   ProfessorEd said:   Only some of the Platinum Privilege Features appear to worth much for my family, (which I would argue is typical of many sophisticated Fat Wallet members).

The most valuable is the 30 free trades per month. This is obviously good is you are an active trader. It is also worth something just for investing the funds brought in, or taking them out.
Using these to become an active trader if one is not would probably be a mistake. There is evidence that the active traders do worse, especially after taxes, due to spreads, and a reduced number of long term capital gains, and simple overconfidence.

Having free trades can make it easier to be fully invested. The free trades do not cover mutual funds, so one implication is to use ETF's when one might have once used mutual funds. Since having the free trades probably makes using ETF more attractive than mutual funds, let us look at the investor who uses them (or individual stocks)

The traditional strategy to minimize commissions has been to accumulate savings in a bank account, and every so often to invest it. This might have been once every few months. With multiple trades per month free, one may invest some from each paycheck. If one needs money, one can probably liquidate a few shares. this makes it possible to reduce the size of the bank account held for emergencies and to take advantage of sales etc.

With some stocks and exchange traded funds there is a risk of moving the market when buying or selling. Having this many trades can make it practical to build or liquidate a position over a period of several days.

I have had some success in using limit order so I only bought when someone else was anxious to sell and giving a price discount. However, every so often this resulted in paying a commission that was high in relation to the size of the trade. One might have a limit order in for 10,000 shares at $1. Usually I would get it while a market order might have cost !.10 or so. However, every so often someone wanted to unload only 100 shares and you ended up buying one hundred shares for $100, and paying a full commission.

Likewise when trying to get out of a position.

I'm sure you realize you don't need Platinum Privileges status for 30 free trades per month.

http://www.merrilledge.com/zero-dollar-trades

Qualify for 30 commission-free online equity and ETF trades per month when you: have a balance of $25,000 in your Bank of America deposit accounts, or have $25,000 in cash in your Merrill Edge self-directed accounts, or maintain Platinum Privileges® status.


As I read that for $25,000 cash in the Merrill Edge account you do get 30 free trades. However, you do not if there is less cash (and more securities). Merrill confirmed this. You can get 30 free trades for $25,000 in cash, and Merrill or BOA will pay you their usual .01% or .1% (I did not catch which it was) for use of your money. To me, this is not a good deal.

However, this can be useful however in one situation. Say you are sending over $25,000 plus (but less than $50,000) in cash. You would qualify for 30 free trades immediately (and they said if there was a delay in the system, you culd get the commissions credited back). This would let you get the funds invested without paying commissions. Because they calculate the status once per month, you would have time to do the investing. However, after the initial month you would be paying commissions.

However, if you can get assets up to over $50,000 (and keep them at that level) you have 30 free trades every month, which should cover most investors needs.


I believe for strictly free trades, the Wells Fargo PMA package is the way to go. 100 free per year @ $25-50k.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1247584/

krschee said:   

I believe for strictly free trades, the Wells Fargo PMA package is the way to go. 100 free per year @ $25-50k.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1247584/


You may be right for assets in the 25K to 50 K range. However, over 50 K, 30 trades per month is 360 per year.

However, the evidence is clear that most active traders do worse than buy and hold after tax, and optimal strategies may involve relatively few trades. Thus, other factors may be more important in deciding who to invest with.

Skipping 15 Messages...
steve1jr said:   ProfessorEd said:   I
The Privileges status (requires $50,000 in assets between Merrill and BOA)appears worth something since you get 30 free trades per month and several banking benefits.


Is this usable for monthly small investments in individual stocks? I have some DRIPs that charge a fee for each purchase - can you make very small (50 or 100 dollar) investments for free using brokerages that provide free trades, or do you have to buy in larger amounts?


In general yes. However, I believe you would need to buy at least whole shares.



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