Merrill Edge Launches New Research Tools for Self-Directed Investors

Merrill Edge is making it easier for its self-directed investment customers to choose stocks, launching a new research tool that aims to take the guesswork out of equity investing.

In a press release,Merrill Edge said that the new tool – which marries stock research, market data and analysis from several industry providers – is the culmination of two years of behavior research, design and technical development. The new research tool is being powered by patent-pending technology and is housed in the research section of the Merrill Edge website. Merrill Edge is providing analysis from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, Morningstar, MSCI, Recognia, Trefis, Thomson Reuters, CFRA powered by data from S&P Global, and First Call, the robo-advisor said.

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"Investors today face a virtual avalanche of information, but our research tells us they want help understanding what's important and most relevant to their personal investing strategies," said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge in a press release announcing the new research function. "Offering this new capability underscores our commitment to financial education and to working with self-directed investors to provide clear and personalized access to the best insights available in the industry today."

Among the research tools, clients get explanations of the company and investing terminology without jargon, along with insight about thousands of companies including stock price, earnings and dividends as well as other financial information. The idea is to make the research and data easily understood so that anyone can make an informed investing decision. Customers also get access to research and insights into why a company's stock is moving higher or lower. The tool also provides a look into why it may or may not be a good time to buy, sell or hold on to the stock.  

In a nod to impact investors, the new tool also includes information about the company's environmental, social and governance practices. Merrill Edge noted in the press release that impact investing is growing in importance, finding in its most recent Merrill Edge report that the majority of Americans want to invest in companies that benefit social, environmental and political causes. Still, only 26% of investors actually evaluate companies on those criteria before investing.