We spent over 100 hours testing robo-advisors, opening and funding an account with each robo to acquire a true client experience and find the best robo advisors
. In this comparison, we will compare Merrill Edge Guided Investing vs TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios to see which robo-advisor is better.
First, let’s take a look at the fees of these two investment advisors. Cost is broken down into both the annual management fee charged each year as well as the expense ratios charged by the ETF holdings themselves. TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios is a better option with a 4.00 star rating over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 3.00 star rating.
Looking at both robo-advisors, we can also explore their features. Neither robo offers tax-loss harvesting. For running predictions on retirement, clients will want to use a retirement calculator. Neither robo offers an advanced retirement calculator. Tracking personal financial goals can also be important. TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offers goal tracking while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. Finally, the ability to import and aggregate third-party financial accounts for holistic analysis can be particularly useful. Merrill Edge Guided Investing has external accounts analysis, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios doesn't.
Lastly, tech savvy Millennials may find it valuable to have access to customer service through phone, email, and live chat. However, not every robo-advisor offers live chat support. Both Merrill Edge Guided Investing and TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios offer live chat support.
Overall, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios takes the upper hand with 4.50 stars over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 4.00 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios was rated Best in Class - Investment Approach, Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Customer Service in 2017, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing was rated Best in Class - Customer Service.