How does Wells Trade measure up?

I saw the following brokerage wish-list posted by Dave at the Bogleheads forum and thought it would be interesting to see how the Wells Trade / Wells Fargo Portfolio Management account measures up according to the list :

(1) Excellent customer service – The few times I called, customer service had been knowledgeable and helpful. The issues were successfully resolved.

(2) Top-notch cost-basis tracking and tax reporting information – Wells Trade does provide cost-basis tracking and offers HIFO cost-basis accounting (useful for minimizing taxes) if you elect to do so.

(3) No transfer out fees – Like almost all brokerages, Wells Trade charges a ACAT transfer-out fee. The ACAT fee is currently $50. For a taxable account, if you do not want to pay the ACAT fee, you can simply liquidate all holdings and withdraw the cash, but then you would generally have to pay taxes for any capital gains realized. As for an IRA, in addition to the $50 ACAT fee, Wells Trade charges an IRA termination fee of $50.

(4) No maintenance or low balance fees – Wells Trade requires a $25,000 minimum, checked every month when the statement is printed, to avoid fees (this is waived for the first three months I think). Otherwise, there is a $25 fee every month (ouch!)

(5) No fee for purchasing Treasury’s at auction – This is not free at Wells Trade.

(6) Very good yields on cash balances (plus option for Tax-exempt MM) – The yield on cash balances is not the best but reasonable. I choose PIVXX, which currently yields 4.59%.

(7) Same day ACH funds transfers – An ACH request submitted before the deadline on a business day gets reflected in the bank account the next business day.

(8) Free dividend re-investment – Haven’t checked on this but I don’t think Wells Trade supports this.

Of all the points above, the most attractive feature is not mentioned: which is the 100 free trades per year for every account linked to the Portfolio Management Account. So if you set up a taxable account and an IRA, you will get a total of 200 free trades a year, 100 in each account. The free trades can also be used to purchase transaction-fee funds like Fidelity or Vanguard fund.

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11 Responses to “How does Wells Trade measure up?”

  1. Mike Says:

    Do you know the total transfer out fee for an IRA?

  2. indexfundfan Says:

    Mike, I edited the post to show the fee for IRA transfer out and termination.

  3. MossySF Says:

    I emailed Wells Fargo customer support about dividend reinvestment and they replied to me that the default configuration is all holdings auto reinvest dividends and distributions. From my experience, it seems to be the case except for closed-end funds. None of my closed-end international bond funds auto reinvested but my stocks/etfs/mutual funds did.

  4. indexfundfan Says:

    MossySF, thanks for your feedback. It appears from your comment that Wells Trade can automatically reinvest stocks / ETFs (in addition to mutual funds). This is something new to me.

  5. Dave Says:

    Several people have mentioned that the website is very slow in submitting and executing trades. Has this been your experience? Also, some people have also mentioned that even if they set a limit order halfway between the bid and ask price, the order never executes. Any comments?

  6. indexfundfan Says:

    Yeah, I read some of the comments from FWF.

    Personally I do not find the speed of the website to be of concern when it comes to stock/ETF trades. True, it takes like 2 to 3 seconds when the website is switched between bank and brokerage. But once you are on the brokerage site, there is no more switching time.

    But you do have to go through a “confirm” page before placing an order. I know some brokerages allow you to bypass the “confirm” page. This feature is probably more important for daytraders.

    As for a limit order halfway between the bid and ask, it really depends on how active the ETF is. Personally, for thinly traded ETFs, there is no reason to expect the order to fill. Certainly price improvements are possible sometimes, but I haven’t seen it at Wells Trade.

  7. Wells Fargo Slow Placing Trades Says:

    YES WELLS FARGO JUST LOST ME 400.00 ON A DIP THAT I PLACED FOR A QUICK DAY TRADE.

    It took them almost 10 mins to execute by then it was on it’s way up. Wells sucks for a trading platform.

  8. Buddy Hall Says:

    I’ve been waiting for this… no more calling into a broker after sale to identify your tax lot sold. Wells Fargo offers new web interface to specify shares from tax lots to be sold:

    https://invmnt.wellsfargo.com/whatsnew_wellstrade.html

  9. indexfundfan Says:

    Good news! Thanks for the feedback.

  10. indexfundfan @ indextown » Blog Archive » Wells Fargo adds tax-lot trading to online system Says:

    [...] to reader Buddy Hall’s feedback, I now know that Wells Fargo has just added tax-lot trading to their online system.  Now, there is [...]

  11. Brian Says:

    I sold multiple tax lots with WellsTrade and they bungled the trade, mixing them all up. They sold the wrong ones. They’re putting the onus on me to re-create the trade. They say they are incapable of doing it. They won’t allow communication with their back office either.
    In addition, I see several trades that are months old that shows the cost basis as PEND.
    The Brokerage side is not a first class operation, although the customer service people are always nice, courteous, speak English and do try their best to help you. You get 100 Free trades with a ‘PMA’ account and sometimes you get what you pay for.