Brokerage firms and bonuses discussion

Brokerage firms and bonuses discussion


CITI Wealth Management has new promotions for 2018 (see below).

For the larger amounts the bonuses are less than firms such as Ameritrade, Fidelity, E*Trade, Merril etc.

For smaller amounts they are more competitive.

The $600 for $100,000 has the potential for raising your rate of return by 1.8% (4 months holding period), which is one of the best deals out there.

I notice for instance that a million to Ameritrade gets you $2500, but sending $100,000 to CITI, $250,000 to Ameritrade, $200,00 to Merrill, and $200,000 to Capital One, and $200,000 to Fidelity gets you $600 from each firm, or $3000 for moving $950,000.

The offers are attractive because of shorter holding periods than most firms. Money put in during January need only remain until 4/30/18 to qualify for a bonus to be paid by Aug 1, 2018, which seems to mean you could take most out earlier, and just leave the account open to receive the bonus.

You also may get the benefits of CITIGold status ($200,000), or their Priority category ($50,000), which may be worth something if you are a banking customer, or wish to be.

“$50,000 – $99,999 $250
$100,000 – $499,999 $600
$500,000 - $999.999 $1,000
$1,000,000 – $1,999,999 $1,500
$2,000,000+ $2,500
For a limited time, you can earn a cash bonus when you fund a new Citi
Personal Wealth Management investment account and enroll in e-delivery
of statements within 2 months of account opening.”

“To qualify to earn a cash bonus reward, accounts must be funded in cash or securities and the account enrolled in e-delivery of statements within 2 months of account opening and the balance of the account must be maintained through the end of the following month shown in the chart below. For example, an account opened in January must fund their account and enroll in e-statement between 1/1/18 and 3/31/18, then must maintain funds until 4/30/18. Cash or securities must come from an external, non-Citi, source through a standard transfer method (e.g., a standard Transfer of Assets form, check, electronic funds transfer, ADM deposit). Transfers from a Citibank Retail account are not considered New-To-Citi Funds for purpose of this promotion. Foreign wires do not qualify as funds received.
The total funding for purposes of determining the bonus level funding considered for the promotion is defined as the total amount of eligible cash or securities received in the account minus withdrawals and transfers of securities out of the account as of the deadline to fund the account based on the month of account opening. Distributions, interest, and dividends from investments will not be counted. Market fluctuation will not impact eligibility for a particular bonus level.”


Yea, my local broker is sometimes too lazy to get marketing/whomever back office to code the promo onto my existing account, so sometimes just tells me to open a new one with the offer code pre-populated. Both routes work :slight_smile:

Pretty sure it’s more often than one per calendar year. I’ve likely done over a dozen with TDA over the years. Three (2 cash, 1 IRA) in 2017, and two (1 cash, 1 IRA) in 2016.


Looks like Scottrade will have one more bonus round before they get integrated in early to mid Feb. $1M worth $2500 plus several hundred free trades, higher amounts negotiable.


Do you have a link for Scottrade bonuses?

All the advertisements I found (including one on a blog with 2018Scottrade offers in the title) go to a web site that mentions no bonuses.

The linked site has a small open an account link, but it merely goes to a page that says: “Thank you for your interest in opening a Scottrade® account. Now that Scottrade has been acquired by TD Ameritrade , all new accounts will need to be opened through TD Ameritrade.”

My local branch manager was told a while ago that no new accounts could be opened, and there was a deadline (long passed) for getting the funds in for promotions already offered.


Xerty may be right about Ameritrade offers in general, but the fine print for the existing advertised offer says: “Limit one offer per client.”

If you try for two offers, they would be in a position to deny you one of the bonuses. It is also possible that the payment of the bonuses is mechanized so that multiple bonuses go through, even if their staff is told not to help you go for multiple bonuses.

The current offer is good for accounts opened before April 30, 2018. I suspect there will be another offer after that (and possibly you could try for that). The current offer does not appear to have language excluding you if you took an offer in 2017.

The issue has some practical importance because as a percentage of the sums invested, the bonuses are appreciably higher for amounts of $100,000 and lower (as are the bonus schedules for other firms).

Due to commitments made to other firms, I could scrape up a million dollars only by drawing on a number of firms.

Optimal strategy may be to take a CITI Wealth management offer and an Ameritrade offer now, and hope for a new Ameritrade offer later in the year, which might be funded from the CITI Wealth management account, or some other account when I will have satisfied the holding periods for bonuses I accepted in 2017


No, my rep called me and told. There were lower tiers, but I didn’t remember what they were and were roughly proportional.


Thanks. You provided potentially useful information.

I called my branch and they do have offers for existing clients, having reversed policies.

They said they were not opening new Scottrade accounts, but existing clients (with properly coded accounts) could get bonuses with funds having to be there by Feb. 15.

As often happens they are most generous on a percentage basis for the smaller accounts.
I was told they could pick up any fees involved. Accounts have to be coded for this. The offers are apparently not on any publically available web sites.

The schedule is bonus amount months percent annual incremental return
ScottTrade 2500 1,000,00012 0.25% 0.2500%
ScottTrade 1200 500000 12 0.24% 0.2400%
ScottTrade 600 250,000 12 0.24% 0.2400%
ScottTrade 300 100,000 12 0.30% 0.3000%
ScottTrade 200 50,000 12 0.40% 0.4000%

The Scottrade accounts will go over to Ameritrade, and it will be a second step to consolidate them with any existing Ameritrade accounts.


Have any folks gotten reimbursed by Etrade for a transfer out fee of late?

Did a transfer last year and a phone rep was uncertain as I initiated the transfer – but after it completed, I sent a secure message with a copy of the Schwab statement indicating the fee, and promptly got credited.

In the process of doing a transfer now, and a phone rep again seems non-committal. Might just have to wait and request again with documentation in hand. Most firms seem to reimburse readily, but to play it safe, I should have done a partial transfer and left a few dollars left rather than opting for the full


Not explicitly. I consider that as part of my signup bonus.


I got a brochure today from HSBC pitching their Premier Relationship with an offer of $750 for $100,000 in new money. While they were emphasizing the Premier Banking, it turns out the $100,000 can include money in their investment account,

The most attractive feature is the 3 month holding period for the full amount. On an annualized basis, this is one of the more generous offers out there. The $750 comes 8 weeks after meeting the conditions, and it appears to require still have the Premier checking account, which has a $50 monthly fee if you do not maintain the full amount. A phone representative says it must be a Premier Account till you got the bonus, which implies either keeping the $100,000 there, or paying a $50 monthly fee. There are cheaper checking accounts available, and I had hoped having one of these might provide a place to deposit the bonus.

Unlike some offers, there is no language protecting you from a decline in the market taking your investment below $100,000, so you probably would want a safety margin.

The offer apparently does not apply for IRA accounts, and they have a $95 full transfer out fee. For a self directed account their commissions are $10.99 which is higher than the competition, but this may not be a problem if you are not an active trader.

Their Premier checking relationship also includes a 1.30% interest savings account. There is some language about this being on new money, so you may get a lower rate on money later brought in, or transferred from the checking account.

There are no annual fees on certain credit cards, some of which have nice introductory bonuses. The attractive cards come with 0% on purchases, so I could imagine getting one yielding a nice reward, doing the required spending, and borrowing at 0% for the interest free period.

From the mailing I got it looks like one might have to apply in a branch, and these may not be convenient to all. However, I was told everything could be done on line if you had the code from a mailer.

They also have a referral program which might bring in a little more if your friends or relatives are candidates for a Premier relationship.


I got the following E-mail today.

“Your online brokerage account(s) will be moved to E*TRADE® later this year. There’s no action you need to take right now, and none of your other Capital One® accounts will be affected.”

Bloomberg reports over a million account are being moved.

I am not certain what the implications are.

They had attractive promotions, see below (From an ad up today)): In particular, their small value promotions were among the highest rates of incremental returns available. The $5,000 offer has the potential to raise your return by 1.33% which appears the best return out there.

I could imagine someone taking one of the smaller offers, plus an ETrade one, and the expecting to end up with one account. Some may have possible transfers that qualify for a large bonus, but there are funds left over that will not push one into the next category. In a simple case one has $650,000 in an IRA and could qualify for a bonus for a transfer of $500,000 (possibly to ETrade for $1500), but would have $150,000 excess. This could be sent to Capital One Investing to get a $300 bonus. Eventually one would end up consolidated at E*Trade and a little bit richer.

As a customer of both firms, I have the impression Capital One is inferior in service and technology (which may have led to the decision to exit the business rather invest in improving it).

In particular, they don’t let you withdraw the bonus for three months (I believe). I decide to invest it, and deposited a little more money so I could buy 4 shares of what I wanted (total cost a bit over $600). When I tried to withdraw the unused part of deposited funds, I discovered I could not till March (fortunately I noticed the date after I made the request). Their programming had used the new funds first for the purchase, and then presumed the withdrawal request was for part of the bonus. While human intervention freed up the small sum, this sort of things should not happen.

Their declared policy is only one bonus per calendar year, so those that have not taken advantage of one of their offers may wish to do so, expecting to eventually end up as a E*Trade customer. _

"Bonus $600 $300 $200 $100 $50
With Deposit, Transfer and/or Rollover $200,000+ $100,000+ $50,000+ $15,000+ $5,000+

Fund a new online account and we will, too.

Make a deposit, transfer or rollover within 90 days of opening your account to get your bonus. . . .".


Lots of consolidation in the retail stock brokerage space. Looks like there’s only maybe 4 big ones left - TDA, E*TRADE, Schwab, and Fidelity. Plus Vanguard, but they don’t actually want you to trade or compete for your business.

OptionsXpress, OptionsHouse, CapitalOne/Sharebuilder, and Scottrade will all have been merged away in 2017-2018.


Yes. it will reduce the scope for competition and bonus collecting.

It also appears several firms that once offered bonuses do not now, such as PNC bank, M & T Bank, and Bankwest.

However, Merril Edge and Schwab also remain and are competitive. I particularly like both of them.

Firsttrade also remains and has low commissions and bonus offers, as does CITI Wealth Management and HSBC Investing.


WellsTrade was the first one to offer free commissions to their premier customers, but apparently dropped that in 2013 (I think BOA got that market). Ally Invest is still around as well.

Capital One bonus ends at the end of the month and this will be the last chance to get it. Free $50 if you want to jump through the hoops. I might, although I have an ETRADE account from Optionshouse days (which is empty).


Bank of America has increased the base bonus by 50% with Merrill Edge, but only for Preferred Rewards members (you can enroll within 90 days of transfer, but that means you open a BoA checking account).

How it Works:

You must enroll during account opening by entering the offer code in the online application or by providing it when speaking with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ at 1.888.888.RWDS (1.888.888.7937) or at select Bank of America financial centers. You are solely responsible for enrolling or asking to be enrolled in the offer.
Fund your account with at least $20,000 in qualifying net new assets within 45 days of account opening. Assets transferred from other accounts at Bank of America, MLPF&S, U.S. Trust, or 401(k) accounts administered by MLPF&S do not count towards qualifying net new assets.
You must be enrolled in Preferred Rewards as of 90 days from meeting the funding criteria described in Step 2.
After 90 days of meeting the funding criteria described in Step 2, your cash reward will be determined by the qualifying net new assets in your account (irrespective of any losses or gains due to trading or market volatility) as follows:
Qualifying Net New Asset Balance Cash Reward
Less than $20,000 $0
$20,000 to $49,999 $150
$50,000 to $99,999 $225
$100,000 to $199,999 $375
$200,000 or more $900
Your one-time cash reward will be deposited into your Merrill Edge IRA within two weeks following the end of the 90 day period. If your account is enrolled in an investment advisory program, such as Merrill Edge Advisory Account or Merrill Edge Guided Investing, any cash reward deposited into your account will be subject to the program fee and other terms of the investment advisory program.
Customers not enrolled in Preferred Rewards as of 90 days after funding will receive the cash reward without the 50% bonus: assets of $20,000 to $49,999 in cash and/or securities receive $100; for $50,000-$99,999, receive $150; for $100,000-$199,999, receive $250; for $200,000 or more, receive $600.


Looks like the Merrill Edge Money Show promotion has returned again, through March 30, 2018. Good for both CMA cash accounts and IRAs

Assets of $20,000 to $49,999 in cash and/or securities receive $100; for $50,000-$99,999 receive $250; for $100,000-$199,999 receive $500; for $200,000 or more receive $1,000. You must have the qualifying balance 180 days after funding.


Note that the bank account is likely to be free if you maintain large deposit amounts at Merrill (over $25,000 I believe). You can keep it active by a deposit as low as $.01.

Hence knowing of this offer could be valuable as could the Money Show offer discussed above if you can get it (The form states it is limited to attendees, but your representative may be able to get it for you). The $1,000 for $200,000 is particularly good, since it appears better than other firms both as a percentage and for a shorter holding period.


Schwab offering $1,000 if I lock up my $250,000 with them for a year. Should I bite?


That’s a decent offer.


thanks guys for the info. Will be using this info to move my account from capitalone sharebuilder