Merrill

Merrill Reviews

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About Merrill

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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.

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
    • Comprehensive services
    • Vast network of advisors
    • Online portal
    Cons
    • Some high account minimums
    • No set-fee pricing

    Featured Reviews

    Verified
    Watertown, MA

    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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    Verified
    Law Vegas, NV

    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 Reviews

    Stars Rating

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    • 0%
    • 0%
    • 1%
    • 99%

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      How do I know I can trust these reviews about Merrill Lynch?
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      • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
      Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
      Customer ServiceStaff

      Reviewed May 14, 2024

      After my mother died her Merrill Lynch account had to be transferred to the estate because there was no beneficiary. Dealing with their Life Services department has been truly hellish. They have never once returned a call, let me know that the paperwork has been processed, didn’t give me the correct forms, lied over and over about how long it would take, and in the 6 weeks since I started the process the account has lost $10,000 because I haven’t been able to liquidate it. Ask for a manager to call back, they say 24-48 hours but nobody ever calls, and if you ask again the clock starts ticking all over, so they just kick the can down the road. You never speak to the same person twice. This department is just completely poorly trained and incompetent.

      Customer ServiceStaff

      Reviewed May 13, 2024

      It took from the end of December 2023 to May 9, 2024 for Merrill to definitively deny my almost 97-year-old mother, who's in home hospice, the minimum required distributions that she had failed to make. I'm her daughter/caregiver/power of attorney. Merrill has been absolutely terrible to deal with! They kept making me jump through multiple hoops, trips to the bank, post office, forms notarized, proving this and that. I kept providing everything they wanted, to no avail. Their voicemail system sends you through endless loops of hell. It took me 20 minutes to finally reach a live human, who supposedly tried to help me, only to send me back to the same starting place. Whatever they say they're going to mail you takes over 10 business days to arrive! I was told a ridiculous reason for that, as if USPS really takes that long to send a simple envelope cross-country.

      The people you do manage to speak to are polite script-reciting robots. One kept repeating a certain page number as a problem, when she had her facts wrong. She also called my mother's shortened version of her birth name an "alias", as if we're trying to pull something over on them! She refused to tell me how many MRDs my mother had failed to make. I was finally told on May 9th that I need to hire a lawyer to access her funds! It took who knows how many presumably well-paid Merrill employees that long to delay, delay, delay everything, causing me so many hours of effort and stress for nothing! The first thing I'll do when I'm able to access my mother's funds for her, is move all her money out of Merrill! Merrill employees sure have no problem calling and mailing to solicit investing with them. Trying to get your money back out of them is a whole 'nother story! Beware!

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        Customer ServicePriceOnline & App

        Reviewed May 2, 2024

        I've been a client for 8+ years. The platform has not improved at all during this time besides a few face lift items on the website. In fact, they have gotten rid of the advanced trading platform they used to have (eSignal/MarketPro). Here is a summary of the problems I have come across:

        1) Service - Not Exceptional and horribly bad: Called in for trade corrections over the years, and each time they can never get it right. I have to call in 3 or 4 times for these to get corrected properly. I have also had a bunch of paperwork snafus that service has literally bungled every time (no joke) that took months to resolve.

        2) Platform is based on banking and not investments! There is NO ABILITY to search by TICKER or company name. YES you read that right! Need to look up transaction by ticker for a class action lawsuit? Sorry, can't do it. But you can search by amount, check number, and check range...I mean come on, really?

        3) You CANNOT change your default tax lot cost basis method (FIFO). You can specify what lots of shares you want to sell, but you are limited to only choosing 4 lots max. And of course I have multiple lots I want to choose more than 4 frequently.

        4) Mobile App: Oh my....what to say here. It is identical to the Bank of America app. This is again focused on banking and not an investment focused app. It is PAINFUL even to use to check your portfolio because the columns are so wide that you have to scroll horizontally to see the information you want. Think literally from the early 2010's. Read the Apple App Reviews and make sure to sort by newest reviews first.

        They care about charging high margin interest rates and fees where they can while providing as little service as possible without spending any money to invest in their platform or making themselves better. I will be transferring out as soon as I can.

        Customer ServicePunctuality & SpeedStaff

        Reviewed April 30, 2024

        I have a 401k account with Merrill Lynch through my employer, and I can confidently say it has been a consistently frustrating experience. From their antiquated procedures to their untrained employees, Merrill Lynch has failed to meet even the most basic expectations of customer service and efficiency. Firstly, their procedures feel like they're stuck in the Stone Age. Simple tasks that should take minutes often end up taking days or even weeks to complete due to bureaucratic red tape and convoluted processes.

        It's incredibly frustrating to navigate their system, especially when trying to make important financial decisions. To make matters worse, their inefficiency knows no bounds. Whether it's waiting on hold for what feels like an eternity or waiting weeks for a simple request to be processed, Merrill Lynch consistently fails to deliver timely and effective service. It's unacceptable for a financial institution of their size and reputation. Overall, I cannot in good conscience recommend Merrill Lynch to anyone. Their outdated procedures, untrained employees, and inefficiency make them a headache to deal with. If you have the option to choose a different provider for your financial needs, I strongly urge you to do so.

        Customer ServicePunctuality & Speed

        Reviewed April 4, 2024

        I had to take out a loan against my 401k because my employer messed up my short-term disability leave of absence. I take out the loan and briefed that it will cost all these fees, and I accept, and am told they will expedite the check via mail to my address. They mail the check to the wrong address and failed to update the shipping to the address they asked me for on the phone, after assuring me they would update the address and send my check out.

        So they had to stop payment on the check and reissue the check and it's taken almost two weeks and I still don't even have a tracking number, and mind you it's "expedited." Because of this I am now late on my rent payment and have to pay a late fee, I've spoken to 4 different representatives and they are not in sync, each person has something different to say, the fact I even have to get MY money out as a loan you'd think it would be OVERNIGHTED. This level of incompetence is worthy of nothing more than a 0-1 star review.

        Reviewed March 15, 2024

        I deposited $5300 in November, 2023. The funds were put on hold, and shortly after I made the mobile deposit, my account was frozen & I have been unable to access those funds. It is now March, 2024. I still have no access to these funds and have been getting the run around ever since.

        Reviewed March 15, 2024

        My 401k was transfer to Merrill without choice (except for rollover options). In hindsight, I wish I rolled over to a better company before the automatic transfer occurred. They charged "high" fees for selling fund I had for years and transferring funds and to move to other companies. I did a rollover and they botched that up too. Another fee though and early distribution penalty next year. What a terrible experience compared to so many good ones with other companies such as TRowe, Fidelity, Etrade, and others.

        Profile pic of the author.
        Customer ServiceStaff

        Reviewed March 14, 2024

        I current have Power of Attorney for my mother since I have to assist her with medicine, food, paying bills,... etc. I tried to set up a joint account via Bank of America. I received a call this morning they cannot set up the account without speaking to my mother. She is incapable of answering that is why I have POA. I was told I cannot set up a joint account because they would need to speak with her. I would need to set up my own account and then add her. The process and excuses are inane. The point of POA is so I can handle her accounts. Also this is suppose to be joint with BOA, it really is not. I cannot recommend BOA or Merrill.

        Profile pic of the author.
        Customer ServicePunctuality & SpeedStaff

        Reviewed Feb. 6, 2024

        I have several bad experiences with Merrill Lynch. Several years ago, I had a quite large account with their financial advisor. When I decided to leave him, he was furious. He called me and hang up on me, when I was trying to say I was sorry. Now, I am stupid enough to use their service again. I opened an account for my son to trade stock, for only $500. Since he was not using it, I decided to close the account. As I am the custodian, I have the authority to close the account. They gave me such a hard time. I have to provide document after document. Every time, you will get a rude rep and ask you to give them a different type of document.

        I am a Bank of America Private Bank customer. I have to bother my Private Bank rep to help to have this issue resolved. The Private Bank rep said they all knew that Merrill service is horrible, as they are poorly paid division, compared to the Private Bank division. Please save your life by not raising your blood pressure and avoid Merrill Lynch.

        Customer ServiceStaff

        Reviewed Dec. 7, 2023

        My mother had money with Merrill Lynch. When she passed away, my sister and I inherited it and I was the executor. It took me 4 months and over 30 phone calls to finally get the money. They required me to have the same form notarized 5 times because they kept changing what was required on it. They even pre-filled it a couple of times themselves and then said it was wrong. You are not allowed to talk to anyone on the team that approves the distribution. You have to go through a so-called support team and they continually give you wrong information. I requested 3 times for a manager to call me due to all the problems, and no one ever called. It is the worst example of customer service that I can recall ever having.

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          Merrill Company Information

          Company Name:
          Merrill Lynch
          Year Founded:
          1914
          Address:
          250 Vesey Street
          City:
          New York
          State/Province:
          NY
          Postal Code:
          10007
          Website:
          www.ml.com