Day-trading millennials boost Merrill Edge self-directed investing volume 180%

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Legions of young investors flocking to cheap trading platforms to pass the time during the pandemic are looking no further than their own banks.

That’s one conclusion at Bank of America, where volume on its Merrill Edge Self-Directed platform rose 180% in the second quarter, the bank said in a statement Friday. Of the 330,000 new accounts opened this year, about a third were for clients 35 or younger. The surge in activity has boosted client balances to almost $250 billion.

“So many people are working from home, working digitally, checking their accounts and watching the stock market every day,” says Aron Levine, president of consumer banking and investments at Bank of America. “If people are not going out to dinner or going shipping, they’re saving and investing.”

The influx comes as the bank is rolling out artificial intelligence tools to give clients personalized information about portfolios, markets and research that adjusts based on their investment behavior. As the coronavirus fueled market volatility, the number of customers viewing Merrill Edge’s financial-education content jumped 25 times from a year earlier, according to Cory Triolo, an executive who manages the digital-investing platform.

BofA is emphasizing education for clients who are new to financial markets, Levine said. It also has controls in place and limits access to complex products to qualified investors.

“We want to be the place where you can learn how to invest and do it the right way,” Triolo said.

Bloomberg News
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