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Compare morgan stanley vs fidelity,vanguard,td ameritrade,etrade,charles schwab,tradeking,andMorgan Stanley vs Competitors: Fees and Services

$30 + $1.50 per contract

Compare Morgan Stanley vs Competitors

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is the full service brokerage arm of the Investment Bank Morgan Stanley. The firm's two main competitors, Fidelity Investments and Vanguard, are known for their own families of mutual funds and ETFs. But they also offer self-directed brokerage services: through them clients can buy and sell stocks, exchange traded funds, options, bonds and other investments.

TD Ameritrade, Etrade, Charles Schwab and Scottrade are the household names, the largest discount brokerage houses in the U. S. The companies are very popular among all investors - from beginners to institutions.

There are two types of pricing schemes at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. The first is the typical and well known model of “pay as you trade.” Equity trades will cost the client anywhere from $50 - $95 depending upon lot size. While cheaper than at some other full service firms, the cost is still much more expensive than at discount brokerage firms such as Scottrade (Review) that charges $7 per trade.

The second pricing scheme is what is known as the “Wrap Account.” Wrap accounts will cost the client 1% of the total household account value annually. The Wrap Account offers the client the ability to buy and sell mutual funds, bonds, and equities for no cost as frequently as needed.

The Fidelity Investments commission for stocks and ETFs is $7.95 per trade, which is just slightly above the average in the industry. Scottrade has slightly lower rate at $7 per trade, and TradeKing is by far the cheapest competitor, charging just $4.95 per trade. Other firms have higher equities pricing.

TradeKing is, again, the cheapest for mutual fund investors: just $10 per transaction for transaction-fee, no-load mutual funds. Scottrade and Etrade charge $17 and $20 per transaction respectively. Other companies have much higher rates: from $50 to $76 for the same trades.

There are thousands of commission-free (NTF program) mutual funds to choose from at the six discount brokerage firms (but not at Morgan Stanley). Keep in mind, that Fidelity Investments is charging a $75 short-term redemption fee for mutual funds sold less than 180 days after being purchased. There is also a $12 annual Low Balance Fee for any non-core Fidelity fund with balance under $2,000.

TD Ameritrade and TradeKing offer their customers access to online investors communities, where users can see what other, more advanced members invest in or trade, create and follow other member's blogs, interact with like-minded individuals. TradeKing actually pioneered this feature in brokerage industry and its community is currently among the best.

Scottrade, TD Ameritrade and TradeKing are the best ranking firms in customer service. TradeKing was rated #1 in Customer Service by Kiplinger's magazine for the four years in the row. Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab also got very high ratings in this category.

All the companies in this review (except Vanguard and Morgan Stanley) created easy-to-use, powerful trading tools that will satisfy just about everyone. But only TD Ameritrade offers professional trading platform (ThinkOrSwim) that is a must-have for very active traders as well as for forex and futures trading.

Because Scottrade and TradeKing created well-designed, intuitive trading screens, offer access to helpful online communities, and provide award-winning customer service, we rated them the Best Brokers for Beginners.

Our Recommendations

Beginner Investors: we recommend TradeKing and Scottrade.

IRA accounts: TD Ameritrade and Scottrade.

Stocks/ETFs Traders: TD Ameritrade and TradeKing.

Options Traders: TradeKing.

Long Term, Infrequent Investors: TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, Etrade, and Scottrade.

Mutual Funds Investors: TradeKing and Scottrade. Fidelity Investments and Vanguard if investing mostly in their own families of mutual funds.

Small accounts: Scottrade.

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