WellsTrade Review

2018 Review of WellsTrade brokerage account. Wells Fargo investment fees and commissions, cons and pros, minimum requirements and promotion offers for opening a new online broker account.


Rating:  WellsTrade brokerage firm rating

  • Stocks & ETFs: $5.95,
  • Options: $5.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $35

WellsTrade Pricing and Account Requirements

WellsTrade recently updated its pricing schedule. Stock and ETF transactions now cost just $5.95. Clients who are enrolled in Portfolio by Wells Fargo receive a very nice $3 discount per trade. To qualify for this status, the financial company requires a $30 monthly fee, or $25,000 in bank deposits, or $50,000 in bank and brokerage balances.

The broker’s mutual fund transaction fee is $35. Fixed-income Treasury securities are $50 per transaction. Other bonds are priced on a markup/markdown basis. WellsTrade offers live agents who can help clients place a trade over phone, and this service tacks on an extra $25.

Option contracts cost 75¢ each on top of a $5.95 base charge. There is no discount on the base charge. Assignments and exercises can only be performed over the phone with a representative, which increases the cost.

WellsTrade has eliminated its old inactivity fee, and replaced it with a $30 annual household fee. It can be avoided by signing up for electronic delivery of account documents. The broker does charge $95 to transfer an account.


Website

Since WellsTrade does not have a desktop platform, the broker’s customers buy and sell securities using its website. There isn’t much on it in terms of educational materials or other resources. Even worse, there is no trade bar on the WellsTrade site. The lack of any complexity actually makes the site fairly easy to navigate.

Orders are submitted using simple web pages. Stocks can be traded using market, limit, stop, and stop limit orders. There is a handy calculator next to the shares field. It can be used to quickly convert dollar amount to number of shares. An order execution alert can be sent to an e-mail address, and the broker accepts both day orders and GTC orders. The order forms for options and mutual funds are next to the ticket for equities.





Besides the website, the broker also accepts orders over the phone. There is a surcharge of $25 for this service. Associates are available 24/7, and WellsTrade requires extended-hours trades to be submitted over the phone. Because traders cannot place extended-hours trades on the website, the broker does not impose its $25 fee for these orders.

The WellsTrade site provides balance history, account performance, and phone numbers for reaching out to customer service. There is an area that shows an account’s asset allocation as a pie chart. The chart breaks down into categories such as real estate, emerging markets, high-yield bonds, and commodities.

Screeners are available for stocks, ETF’s, mutual funds, and fixed-income products on the WellsTrade site. The stock screener has both basic and advanced modes. The advanced mode, despite its name, doesn’t have a lot of criteria to search by. The broker’s ETF screener has the ability to scan for funds with a certain Lipper rating, while the mutual fund screener can search by Morningstar rating.


Charting

Although WellsTrade doesn’t have a desktop platform, it does provide decent charting capability on its website. A chart can display up to 30 years of data, and several graph styles are available, including line, mountain, candlestick, filled candlestick, bar, dot, and OHLC bars. Earnings, splits, and dividends can all be overlaid. There are several drawing tools, including rays, text boxes, ellipses, and Fibonacci tools.





Several technical indicators can also be used. These include Bollinger Bands, Moving Average Envelope, and Chaikin’s Volatility. Some of these are shown over a graph, while others are displayed below. Besides these technical tools, WellsTrade also offers comparisons to stocks, ETF’s, and U.S. indices.


Mobile App

The Wells Fargo mobile app is used for both investment and bank accounts. The platform can be used on both Android and Apple phones and tablets. Some of the available features for brokerage customers include market indices (both U.S. and foreign), news articles from the Associated Press, market movers, alerts, and a watchlist. Paper checks can be deposited using the app.

Stocks and ETF’s have detailed profiles on the mobile app, although the information is more limited compared to the website. Dividend information is displayed, along with EPS, 52-week price range, and bid and ask prices. Option chains are also available.

The app can be used to buy and sell mutual funds, options, stocks, and ETF’s. Many of the trade ticket features on the website are also on the mobile app. For example, the calculator icon is on the mobile platform.


Wells Fargo brokerage account review


Investment Advice and Portfolio Management

Wells Fargo Advisors, an affiliated company, provides financial advice and portfolio management for an extra fee. The company does not publish what this fee costs, however. Many Wells Fargo brick-and-mortar locations have at least one financial advisor, and these branches are scattered throughout the United States. WellsTrade currently does not provide these services, although the broker is developing a robo-advisory service that is schedule for release sometime in 2018.


Research and Education

WellsTrade’s site has some helpful learning materials, although there aren’t very many of them. An in-depth page on financial markets is available by going to ‘Research’ in the top menu and then selecting ‘Markets.’ Besides stock indexes, information on commodities, interest rates, and currencies are shown. Clicking on one of the items produces a more detailed graph.

Detailed reports in pdf format are available from Wells Fargo Securities. These discuss economic issues, such as individual stocks and economic sectors. There are 113 analysts who write these reports. All of them are free of charge. Another useful report is the Core List Strategy, a list of blue chip stocks that Wells Fargo analysts are bullish on. These recommendations can be downloaded free of charge as well.

Unfortunately, there are no videos on the WellsTrade site. Also missing are stock reports from third parties and educational tools on how to trade. For example, there are no articles on what options are or what NAV means. Beginners wouldn’t do well here.


Customer Service

A WellsTrade associate can be reached by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While this is certainly a convenient service, the brokerage firm does not offer an on-line chat feature, which would be. Moreover, there are no WellsTrade branch locations, which leaves investors with just the phone. Surprisingly, the WellsTrade site does not have an internal messaging function. Although many Wells Fargo Bank branches do have an investment advisor inside, this service is not for general customer service. It is only for customers who have elected to pay for portfolio management.


IRAs

WellsTrade offers Individual Retirement Accounts in three forms: Roth, Traditional, and SEP. The SEP version is designed for small business owners and self-employed persons. The Roth and Traditional accounts have the $30 annual fee, and it can be avoided using the same method available to taxable accounts. Households that have only a SEP account don’t have to pay the annual fee. WellsTrade charges a $95 termination fee for closing an IRA.

There are many target-date funds available at WellsTrade. These are designed for retirement savers. The target-date is the time when retirement is expected to start. Some of the available fund families include Vanguard and T. Rowe Price. And of course, Wells Fargo Advisors can assist clients with retirement planning.


Banking Features

WellsTrade offers cash management tools, but only at high price. The Wells Fargo command account will function as a core cash position, but it costs $100 per year. It does come with checks and a debit card. One way around this is to open an independent Wells Fargo checking or savings account, which can easily be linked to the WellsTrade investment account.


Recommendation

Traders who need advanced technology will be especially disappointed at WellsTrade. Option traders don’t have good resources, either, and the broker’s IRA selection underperforms compared to many other online brokers. On the other hand, Wells Fargo customers who have at least $25,000 on deposit with the bank receive excellent commissions with the brokerage unit. And mutual fund traders will find a great selection of products here.


Wells Fargo Brokerage Review Summary

A variety of investment services are available to WellsTrade clients, some of which are at low prices. The broker still hasn’t released its robo-advisory service, so it’s not possible to analyze it yet. Its new commission schedule is competitive, but WellsTrade still falls short in many areas.


WellsTrade Promotion

None at this time.


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WellsTrade reviewed by TopRatedFirms.com Rating: 3