Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch

 2.7/5 (683 reviews)
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About Merrill Lynch

This profile has not been claimed by the company. See reviews below to learn more or submit your own review.

Merrill, formerly Merrill Lynch, is a financial advisory company that works with users to create wealth management packages for a variety of needs, including investment guidance and financial planning services. It has a wide network of associates available to help manage clients’ financial portfolios. Merrill is a subsidiary of Bank of America.

Overall Satisfaction Rating

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  • Comprehensive services
  • Vast network of advisors
  • Online portal


  • Some high account minimums
  • No set-fee pricing

Bottom Line

Merrill is a wealth management company with a global network of financial advisors. It’s an established option for anyone looking for investment guidance or in-person financial advising.

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Rated with 5 stars

The good thing about Merrill is that I like the way they have laid out the site. Reporting is simple. They have tons of research and they have now created "stocks stories."... Lik...

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Rated with 5 stars

I have been involved with Merrill Lynch for over 15 years. They have always been accessible to me; answered all my questions in a way I could understand. They are knowledgeable an...

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What is Merrill Lynch?

Merrill is a large company offering wealth management services for individuals, businesses and other entities. It offers personalized guidance from over 14,000 advisors who help customers plan and execute their financial goals. Its services are available in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia and some U.S. territories.

Given its size, awards and substantial history, Merrill is a good option if you’re more comfortable with an established company handling your finances.

What does Merrill Lynch do?

Merrill offers a variety of financial planning and advising services. Whether you're trying to save for your retirement or invest, Merrill can help. Consider Merrill if you’re looking for:

  • Brokerage services
  • Retirement planning
  • Long-term living planning
  • Financial goal planning
  • Business planning
  • Charitable planning
  • Home planning
  • Healthcare planning
  • Leisure planning

Merrill's network of advisors can help you identify, create and execute a financial plan that fits your life and goals. To find the right advisor for you or your organization, visit Merrill's website to search for an advisor by name or location. Alternatively, the company can match you to an advisor based on your needs and information.

The Merrill advisor then leads you through the following process:

  1. Understanding your financial situation and your goals
  2. Creating an achievable strategy based on your goals
  3. Continually making adjustments and keeping you on track

Merrill offers three main programs for personalized advice and guidance: Merrill Guided Investing, Merrill Edge Self-Directed and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Merrill Edge Self-Directed is mainly an online investing tool, while Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is a full-service advisory program. Merrill Guided Investing offers a moderate level of advisor guidance with smaller investment minimums.

Merrill Edge Self-DirectedMerrill Guided InvestingMerrill Lynch Wealth Management
Advisor helps set goals and investment strategy
Merrill professional manages investments
Dedicated advisor team
Investment minimumNone$5,000; $20,000 with an advisorAround $250,000
PricingUnlimited $0 online stock and option trades0.45% annual program fee; 0.85% annual program fee with advisorCustomized
Merrill Edge Self-DirectedNoneUnlimited $0 online stock and option trades
Merrill Guided Investing$5,000; $20,000 with an advisor0.45% annual program fee; 0.85% annual program fee with advisor
Merrill Lynch Wealth ManagementAround $250,000Customized

Merrill Lynch fees

Merrill’s fees and account minimums depend on the advisory program you choose and any special services you use.

Merrill Edge Self-Directed has no account minimum, and many of its trades are free. However, ETF sales are subject to a transaction fee of 1 to 3 cents per $1,000 of principal, and keep in mind that there are other costs that come with owning ETFs.

Merrill Guided Investing requires you to invest at least $5,000, but the minimum goes up to $20,000 if you want guidance from an advisor. Annual program fees vary accordingly. Accounts without an advisor pay 0.45% of assets under management, while accounts with an advisor pay 0.85% at the time of publishing.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has the highest investment minimum at $250,000. However, because it services such a comprehensive market and different types of investors, there is no set price on this program’s services.

Reach out to your advisor or call Merrill's customer support line for more info on its other fees.

Merrill FAQ

Where is Merrill available?

Merrill is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories.

What types of investments does Merrill work with?

Merrill works with a wide variety of investment options, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options and bonds. To find out more, try calling Merrill’s customer service line.

Does Merrill have in-person services?

Yes, you can meet with your local Merrill advisor in person or online, depending on the advisory program you choose.

Are Merrill branches independently operated?

No, Merrill's advisors and staff operate each branch.

Is Merrill Lynch good

Merrill is a good company if you're looking for an established financial advisor to help create and implement a plan to meet your financial goals. Whether you're looking for guidance on investing or selling a business, Merrill can help with various levels of service and options for both in-person and online advising. However, you have to inquire with the company to find out what you qualify for and what rates you can expect.

Merrill Lynch Reviews

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 21, 2023

Worked with a Bank of Boston representative for Merril Lynch to obtain a $100,000 1 year CD. We verified with her in every way possible that the most we could forfeit is the accrued interest if for some reason we had to withdraw the money prior to the end of the year. She was emphatic that there would be no penalty, and there might be a percentage of the interest accrued that would be lost. SHE LIED!!! After six months we ran into a hardship due to my mother inlaw’s illness. We needed to take out half the money.

When we contacted Merrill Lynch they stated we would lose all interest, which was acceptable. THEN they stated that there would be an additional $10,000 early withdrawal charge. USURY!!!! At no time were we informed about the penalty, and for the measly %1 interest on the CD we would have NEVER gone with them. USURY!!! Since they have our money they are now bringing up charges, where the sales representative stated there were no penalties USURY!

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Resolution response: March 9, 2023

Finally the new shares showed up in my account, but seeing dividends gone with nothing in return did scare me. I keep the same rating for the difficulty of getting the service we deserve and the lack of transparency regarding our money.

Original review: March 9, 2023

First, please note you have to be a US citizen or PR to be eligible for opening a Merrill account. If you don't have such a status, Merrill will not allow you to open an account with them, and actually, that is a GOOD thing for you because Merrill's products and services are really terrible. Without BOA's acquisition, I don't think Merrill would be alive right now. I found the following things after opening a Merrill account:

1. As many people complained here, although they claim to offer 24/7 service, it is IMPOSSIBLE to reach anyone by phone. They say "For time sensitive requests, please call us 24/7 at 877.653.4732.". It is a total joke. If this is really a time sensitive request, you would probably better give up cause you will be put on hold FOREVER.

2. Their financial advisors do not care about you if you open a self-directed account. The only way to look for help is via their phone service which is impossible to use.

3. Their fund offerings are terrible. Their NTF funds tend to be the most expensive ones.

4. Their website often has glitches.

5. Their tax forms can be delivered as late as March 15.

The above things are bad enough, but the deal breaker for me is they stole my dividends! I set automatic dividend reinvestment for some of my funds, and I found they took away my dividends but did NOT give me the new shares. How could it be legal? Of course I could not reach anyone to help me with this. Please stay away from this ** company!

3 people found this review helpful

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 13, 2023

    I was calling Merrill to ask about options trade, before anything (john or josh) started asking me these questions: ss# (8 digits), spell my name and last name, dob, name of company I work for, name of my current position, my password to access my account and my personal ID, that is crazy!

    2 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 7, 2023

    I have been banking with Bank of America for many years, so when I decided to roll over my 401k, I signed up with Merrill Lynch (owned by BOA). That was a mistake, and I will never use this company again.

    1) Impossible to reach. You will be put on hold for 1hr or longer each time you call.

    2) They pay your cash position the worst possible rate. I had my account with them for 3 years. Due to a surgery, I did not check the account balance for a while. I have a IRA with Fidelity which pays normal market interest for cash positions, I have 3 times more funds in Merrill, and in 3 years time, they only paid $8 for my funds, which means Merrill scammed about $4,000 in interest alone.

    3) I decided to get all my funds transferred to fidelity. I filed the first request, it took Merrill 20 days to tell me they declined the transfer, so I filed another request. This time, they charged me $49.95 to transfer my funds to fidelity, which I was not made aware when I signed up for the account. I was told because I am a platinum honor client with BOA, they will waive many fees, but that is not case.

    4) Merrill has one of the worst investment selection around. Their IRA does not allow reverse ETFs or options. You basically can only buy, usually at the worst prices possible, without any risk management tools to protect your investments.

    I will NEVER used Merrill again, worst investment experience.

    9 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Dec. 10, 2022

    Danger, Will Robinson. ML controlled money for years belonging to my kids that was left by their mother who died of colon cancer. Merrill Lynch has charged thousand of dollars in fees per year per child for each account worth around $40k. The kids have requested funds be released as early as possible, that we be allowed to move the funds to another financial firm, that a specific Cincy financial advisor be removed from the account and that a full accounting of fees be provided.

    Merrill Lynch not only ignores their requests, but even withheld monies during the pandemic stating they weren't required to release funds then. Imagine the audacity of keeping monies from children ages 13 & 11 who just lost their mother to colon cancer. Each time we've tried moving money to another financial firm, Merrill Lynch gets involved and we're unable to do so. After countless letters & over 10 years later, we've given up on ever seeing that money, nor working with Merrill Lynch. Our money is truly lost in space.

    13 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 2 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 4, 2022

    I moved my IRA over.. It’s a substantial amount and now they do not want me to use it. I am retired and I really need the income. I think they want to keep my balance high so they can charge more fees. I notice they take fees out all of the time. So far they have lost $30k and charged me 3 times is three weeks. It might be a coincidence but they charge the fees when the market is up. I have already paid $1500 for 3 weeks of management. I will be changing companies if this continues.

    20 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
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    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 23, 2022

    Merrill has become impossible to reach by phone and the website is malfunctioning, They have my funds and are controlling them, but I can't contact them. And I am having difficulty removing my funds from their care. I do NOT recommend doing any type of business with Merrill.

    27 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 10, 2022

    We are first time homebuyers and my husband's 401k is allowed to be used for a down payment under a hardship withdrawal. We have been waiting 22 days for the money. We literally only need this check to be able to close on the house we are purchasing and underwriting has been complete for 19 days. I can’t imagine if we had a true hardship (god forbid such as a death) and needed the money urgently. They refused to direct deposit it. And now Wells Fargo will no doubt put a hold on the check. Our withdrawal has been approved since last Thursday (even though it shouldn’t take that long) and we were assured they would next day us the check. The check was not mailed until mid day Tuesday and they didn’t even send it urgently. Now it may arrive up until 7pm. Merrill Lynch has the worst practices of any banking entity that I have ever experienced.

    19 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: July 27, 2022

    My father passed away in January. He had several accounts with this company. My mom is hard of hearing pretty much deaf so I have to handle all her affairs. We have reached out to the associates that opened up my fathers accounts since his passing and it’s impossible to reach anyone. They never answer almost never return voicemails I leave. I have emailed and faxed all documents they requested, even took them into the bank as well and still have not heard back from anyone. It has been months with no answer. As I type this I am literally trying to get through to the estate unit and have been on hold over an hour and fifteen minutes. This is horrible that both of my parents have accounts with this company yet this is how they treat their customers. I would never recommend this company to anyone ever. I have even reached out to supervisory office and of course no one answers.

    22 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: July 16, 2022

    You do not get true advice and support. Everything done by the agent was to get credits for self-earnings including bank transactions usually done for free. For example, transfers between the existing accounts in the same bank of America. My adviser was able to take my money and after $23,000.00 was lost in three months, she was able to transfer it back to my bank account. No actual advice was received regardless the money paid for it. Just to add, I invested with Merrill Edge because no one responded when I was trying to invest with Fidelity. It was disappointing three months ago, but now I understand that not taking money at that time was the best advice. I am sorry, I used Merrill Lynch Edge.

    15 people found this review helpful
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    Merrill Lynch Company Information

    Company Name:
    Merrill Lynch
    Year Founded:
    250 Vesey Street
    New York
    Postal Code: