In their February issue, Consumer Reports looked at the best brokers based on reader feedback. Their top five included:
- USAA Brokerage Services
- Vanguard Brokerage Services
- Charles Schwab
- TD Ameritrade
All were give above average marks for customer service and website usability, and Vanguard and Schwab both scored high on “financial advice.” As far as costs go, all five are between $7-$10 for standard stock trades.
For full service brokers, their top pick was Edward Jones, which likewise scored high for customer service and financial advice. Most full service brokers have high minimums and also charge a percentage of assets under management.
At Edward Jones, these fees start apparently start out in the 1.35%-1.50% range, which is huge — though not as huge as outfits like Ameriprise, which apparently starts around 2% of AUM.
Coincidentally, I just noticed that the Edward Jones branch that I drive by every day on the way to work has gone under. I have no idea why; I just thought it was an interesting observation that I’d share.
Personally, I’m all Vanguard, all the way (except in one retirement account where Fidelity is the best option available). We don’t use VBS very much, though. Rather, we mostly use their index funds (as opposed to their ETFs).
P.S. If you want to take a peek at the report, go here. The article is subscription only, but I found a copy online by Googling the title.
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