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.