Wells Fargo Review
Wells Fargo traces its history to the mid-1800s, when it started providing express and banking services to the rapidly growing territory of California. Since then, it has evolved into an international financial services powerhouse with tens of millions of global customers and a network of thousands of financial advisers. Wells Trade is its online brokerage platform, offering clients a wide range of research and planning tools as well as affordable access to equity markets and mutual funds.
If you're an existing Wells Fargo customer who uses the company for banking, advisory, or credit card services, you can link those accounts to a trading account for an all-in-one financial services hub. You'll also have access to more than 15,000 professional advisors, either by phone or email or by visiting one of Wells Fargo's many physical locations.
In this walkthrough, we will look at the Wells Trade platform and explore its various features and functionality.
Homepage - Wells Trade is Wells Fargo's retail online trading platform. Backed by a global, full-service financial company, Wells Trade provides useful research, planning, and insight for the long-term investor. Wells Trade customers can also take advantage of the company's network of 15,000-plus professional advisors for a more personal, guided experience.
Log-in - Log in with your username and password. You can also get a refresher of the platform by clicking on the Online Brokerage Tour link.
Portfolio & Account Management
Brokerage Overview - When you first log in to your Wells Trade account, you'll be brought to your Brokerage Overview, a summary of your investment account balances, holdings, portfolio performance, and recent activity.
Account Summary - Wells Trade lets you link other Wells Fargo accounts, such as checking, savings, credit cards, and advisory accounts, so they're all in one place. This also makes it easy to transfer funds in and out of your brokerage account without having to wait more than a day. The Account Summary link is on the top left of the screen along the menu bar. This page also has some useful planning tools and financial calculators.
Slideout Bar - If you click on the black-and-white left arrow icon in the top right corner, a slide-out bar will appear with a market overview. It includes prices for the tickers on your watch list, how the broader stock market is doing, and top market headlines.
Transfer & Pay - Wells has partnered with Zelle so you can send money peer-to-peer to people with participating non-Wells Fargo accounts, using only their email addresses or phone numbers. You'll find these options in the Transfer & Pay menu, which appears next to the Quote Box on each page of the site.
Transfer Money - Wells Trade customers can move money in and out of their accounts in a variety of ways. You can even use your brokerage account to pay bills linked to your Wells Fargo bank accounts and cards.
Quick Quote Box - If you're looking for a real-time quote on a security, use the Quick Quote box you'll find on the top right of each page. Enter or look up a ticker symbol, and a quote will appear along with a daily price chart and an option to that ticker to your watch list or portfolio tracker. Click on the Details link for more info and research for that particular asset.
Detailed Quote - The detailed quote brings you an overview of the asset you've selected, including its price information as well as a snapshot of headlines, ratings, and research. Scroll though the overview for the highlights. You may also notice that a new menu bar appears just below the price quote and above the chart. We'll go through each of these menu options in turn.
News & Research — Articles and Reports - Click over to the News & Research tab to explore articles and research reports for any company or fund you're interested in. Headlines are sourced from several high-quality news providers. Just click on a headline to read the whole story.
News & Research — Analyst Ratings - If you want to know what analysts are saying about a particular stock, click on the Analyst Ratings tab in the News & Research pane. Wells Fargo's own analysis is prominently featured, but you'll also see what the consensus is.
Financials — Fundamental Analysis - Are you a fan of fundamental analysis? The Financials tab will bring up a company's earnings reporting history, along with key financial ratios, and also let you view company filings like balance sheets and income statements.
Trade — Options Chain - If you want to use options to hedge against losses or enhance your returns, the Options Chain tab is the place to go. Click on any option to load it into the quote box or to trade it.
ETF — Quote Overview - If you're shopping for an exchange-traded fund, enter its ticker symbol in the quote box and expand to a detailed quote. Here you'll find information and metrics such as the sector allocation of the holdings in that ETF.
ETF — News & Research - Once you get a quote for a particular ETF, you can click on the News & Research tab to see how it fares on the Lipper Scorecard. The scorecard tracks ETFs based on how they perform across five dimensions and how their performance has changed over time.
Mutual Funds — Profile Overview - If you're looking for a mutual fund, the quote overview will give you a snapshot of a particular fund's performance, an analysis by Morningstar, and its top holdings and assets under management.
Mutual Funds — Returns - The Returns tab lets you see how a particular mutual fund has performed over time, compared with its benchmark and its peers with the same investment strategy.
Mutual Funds — Holdings - Take a look under the hood of a mutual fund with the Holdings tab. Here you'll get a breakdown of top holdings, asset types, and sector allocation, as well as geographic exposure.
Mutual Funds — Risk - The Risk tab is the place to go to find out how volatile a particular fund has been compared to the fund's benchmark and its peer group.
Mutual Funds — Expenses - The Expenses tab will give you an idea of how much you'll pay in fees to buy a particular mutual fund and for every year you hold it.
Debt-to-Income Ratio Calculator - From the Account Summary page, click on Calculate Debt-to-Income Ratio to load up this useful tool. Your DTI ratio is an important measure of financial stability that's often used by lenders when you apply for a mortgage or line of credit. If your DTI is worse than expected, you'll get some tips on improving it.
My Retirement Plan — Savings Calculator - Want to know if you have enough saved for retirement? Or how much to sock away each year while you're working? The My Retirement Plan tool will help you figure it all out. Just answer some questions about your current financial situation and future expectations to get customized guidance.
My Credit Options Guide - Wells Fargo is a full service financial company that offers a variety of credit cards and loan products. The My Credit Options Guide functions as a handy calculator that will serve up the Wells Fargo products and services – such as credit cards or lines of credit — that you might want to consider using to achieve your financing needs.
My Credit Options Guide — Report - After you've entered in your info to the My Credit Options Guide, you'll receive a .pdf report assessing your financial situation given your goals and then provide you with specific credit services that Wells can offer.
Portfolio — Holdings - If you go to Positions under the Portfolio menu you can take a look at the stocks, bonds, options, preferred shares, and other investments you have in your accounts and see how they've performed since you bought them.
Portfolio — Allocation - If you want to know how all your individual holdings translate into a broader, diversified portfolio, head to the Asset Allocation tab. You'll be able to see how your portfolio looks now and how it compares with various model portfolios that might better match your goals.
Portfolio — Realized Gain/Loss - Realized gains or losses, as opposed to “paper” ones, are the kind that matter at tax time. They can also show how your closed-out positions have performed if you want to gauge your trading ability.
Portfolio — Income - The Income tab is useful for seeing how much cash your portfolio is generating in dividends and interest, as well as their individual sources. You can also project how much money you can expect to earn from your investments in the next few months.
Portfolio — Activity - Made some trades? The Activity page under the Portfolio menu will give you a recap of all your past transactions, as well as transfers, interest and dividend payments, and activity from stock splits or redemptions. You can sort and filter your activity by date or transaction type or search for a particular ticker symbol.
Portfolio — Balances - For a quick snapshot of your account balances, including how much you hold in cash and other asset classes and what's available for you to trade with on margin, head over to the Balances page under Portfolio. You'll also get a nice chart of your balance history to see how it's changed over time.
Performance - Portfolio performance is the No. 1 concern for many investors, and Wells Trade provides that information in the Performance tab, both by year and annualized across longer time periods.
Orders - If you have put in some trades that haven't been filled yet, you can view the order details, change them, or cancel the order altogether using the Orders tab.
Statements & Docs - You can find and download PDFs of your account statements, forms, and tax documents all in one place at the Statements & Docs page, under the Portfolio menu.
Envision Plan - Unlike some online brokers, Wells Trade puts an emphasis on long-term planning. For example, its Envision Plan lets you create customized investment strategies based on a particular goal – such as retirement planning or saving for a child's college costs. Not only will these planning tools help you build a portfolio that's appropriate for each task, but they'll also tell you if you need to make adjustments as market conditions change.
Account Download - You can download your entire account activity and portfolio history as an Excel file or import it directly into Quicken for a deeper analysis of your trading or investment performance.
Trade - When you're ready to place a trade, the Trade screen under the Portfolio menu is where you'll enter your order. The tabs along the top let you toggle between trading stocks and ETFs, options, or mutual funds. Enter the order details, click Preview Order to make sure you got everything right, and then send your trade to the market.
News & Market Insights
Markets - Wells offers a wealth of research and analysis. Just follow the Research drop-down along the top menu bar. The Markets research provides a broad overview of the factors that are moving the markets and a snapshot of the day's activity.
News & Research - If you want to know what Wells Fargo's team of analysts is thinking, go over to the News & Research page. You'll also be able to see analysts' upgrades and downgrades, earnings announcements, macroeconomic headlines, and top news by industry or sector.
Commentary & Strategy - The Commentary & Strategy page offers views from some of the best minds on the Street in a way the average investor can easily digest.
Screeners — Security Type - Screeners are useful tools to sort through the sea of stocks and funds so you can pinpoint the ones that most closely match your goals. You can find screeners for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, or fixed-income investments under the Research menu.
Screeners — Stock Screener - To search for individual stocks use the Stock Screener. You can sort and filter based on a range of criteria, such as industry sector, analysts' recommendations, financial ratios, and more.
Screeners — ETF Screener - If you're looking to narrow the expanding universe of ETFs, the ETF Screener lets you sort by industry sector, Lipper fund analysis metrics, and more.
Screeners — Mutual Fund Screener - Are you a mutual fund investor? The Mutual Fund Screener can help you find funds that match your needs, with screens for expenses, risk/return measures, and whether a fund is open to new investors, among others.
Screeners — Compare Funds - Once you have your preliminary list of results, you can compare up to three funds at a time, side-by-side.
Screeners — Bond Screener - While you can't trade bonds directly on the Wells Trade online platform, you can call a Wells Fargo adviser to assist you with the transaction. And the Bond Screener will help you figure out which bonds look right for you before you make that phone call.
Screeners — Bond Results - Click on a particular bond in the results window to see more detailed info on it and its issuer.
Watchlists - Watchlists are useful for tracking your portfolio, or to see how stocks or other investments that are on your radar are performing before you buy them. You can even make up a “what-if” portfolio by entering hypothetical trades and seeing how those investments would pan out over time without actually owning them. You can add securities to your watch list from the Quote Box, and save multiple lists for different purposes.
Interactive Charting - Watchlists are useful for tracking your portfolio, or to see how stocks or other investments that are on your radar are performing before you buy them. You can even make up a “what-if” portfolio by entering hypothetical trades and seeing how those investments would pan out over time without actually owning them. You can add securities to your watch list from the Quote Box, and save multiple lists for different purposes.
Portfolio Tracker - The Portfolio Tracker is designed for the more active trader and opens in its own dedicated browser window. Day traders will like the customizable windows, quick view of quotes, charts, and news, as well as the ability to trade directly from this screen.
Customer Service - Wells makes it easy to get in touch with customer service or to edit your profile and settings. Select the Customer Service drop-down from the top menu bar to take care of your account preferences, change passwords, link accounts, and a whole host of other admin stuff.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - When you can't figure out something on the platform or need a little help with some feature or functionality, head over to Frequently Asked Questions under the Customer Service drop-down. Odds are that the question you have has already been answered for you here.
Tax Center - Tax time can be a headache for investors, especially if you do your own taxes. Wells Trade offers some headache relief with useful guides and tools to make filing easier. You can download your tax forms at the Tax Center or import the data directly into TurboTax.
Contact Us - If you need to get somebody on the phone for customer support or trading help, you'll find numbers on the Contact Us page in the Customer Service menu.