Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Online Trade Savings for the Average Investor



Discounted commissions aren’t just for investors with million-dollar brokerage accounts anymore. Over the past year, many brokerage firms reduced the costs of investing, but the richest clients usually saw the biggest benefits. Thanks to a new relationship pricing approach, average investors are getting a chance to save money on trading costs as well.

Wells Fargo Investments, through its WellsTrade brokerage account for self-directed investors, now offers discounted trading commissions based on a customer’s combined brokerage and banking balance. The new commission schedule is made available to WellsTrade accounts that are linked to a portfolio management account, or PMA – which provides reduced fees and other benefits based on combined balances in checking and savings accounts, investments, IRAs, loans, credit cards and even mortgages.

“Currently, brokerage firms are focusing primarily on price reductions for high-asset clients and frequent traders of individual stocks,” said Rachel Perkel, senior vice president at Wells Fargo Investments. “The industry, for the most part, has shied away from providing great value to the long-term investor, particularly those interested in mutual funds. Wells Fargo Investments now offers customers the opportunity to qualify for some of the lowest commissions in the industry – regardless of brokerage assets and number of trades.”

By looking at a customer’s combined relationship, Wells Fargo Investments can provide lower commissions for those with smaller brokerage balances. Customers with a PMA will now be able to trade online for a flat per trade commission rate of $9.95, $2.95 or even commission free. For example, customers with PMA balances of $250,000 or more will receive 50 commission-free trades each year. These new low rates apply not only to online stock trades, but also to online mutual fund trades. Other brokers usually reserve their lowest commission rates for customers with brokerage assets of at least $500,000 or $1 million - not counting other assets and loans - or to very active traders.

Besides saving customers money, the PMA account can also be more convenient. A customer can view all their checking, savings, brokerage, credit card, loans, and mortgage information in one consolidated account summary. It’s easy to transfer funds online between linked banking and brokerage accounts.

As brokerage firms continue to make online trading easier, innovative accounts like these should help investors get treated like a millionaire – even if they aren’t.

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On the Net:
Wells Fargo site: http://www.wellsfargo.com

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