LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
T. Rowe Price was founded in 1937 by Thomas Rowe Price Jr. The brokerage firm is renowned by name among investors and non-investors alike. It pioneered what the brokerage world knows today as fee-based investing, where the firm used to charge fees based on the assets being managed. Today, the firm is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, but the company has offices in 14 countries around the world. It provides a range of investment choices including stocks, ETFs, and options, to name a few. It also offers its clients financial advisors for when they need additional assistance to manage their wealth. Furthermore, the firm offers investment guidance and planning tools.
T. Rowe Price offers a variety of investment options for its clients. This is especially ideal for investors looking to diversify their portfolios by investing in an assortment of securities so as to mitigate financial risks. It is no wonder Bloomberg Businessweek hailed the company for having a "conservative investment philosophy and focus on diversification." The brokerage firm also tends to reward investors who execute more than 30 trades over the previous 12 months. These investors get to place trades for an undisclosed fee. Other benefits include:
- Investment services
- Reports and information
Investors with $100,000 or more in assets invested with the brokerage firm are also rewarded with special benefits. These benefits include complimentary services such as, priority access to advisors, exclusive online benefits, and a portfolio summary report, among many other services. Household investors also receive similar premium services if they're eligible. Eligibility depends on the value of combined assets of individual accounts that share the same address.
T. Rowe Price provides valuable investment services that are intuitive in nature. Users enjoy the ability to set up price alerts and view market data before moving to another single page where they can perform everything needed to place trades. The firm also offers some great tools, like its Mutual Fund Gateway tool allows its users to perform research into mutual funds, many of which come with no transaction fees. For investors who don't want to place trades online, they can do so by calling the firm's Tele-Trader phone system or elect to speak directly with a registered representative. The firm's financial advisors are well equipped to handle all investor related inquiries.
Reports and Information
The brokerage firm also offers great research reports. It provides third-party research from Interactive Data to help its investors make informed investment decisions. Interactive Data is a premier, high-quality, independent research firm that provides data for millions of financial instruments. Interactive Data provides a lot of information, including stock screeners, company news and reports, interactive charts, and analyst research.
Furthermore, investors with the firm can opt to stay informed of changes in the moving market. They can receive investment alerts on trades, prices, volumes, watch-lists, positions, and more. They can also check up on unlimited real-time quotes to further ensure their investment decisions are well informed.
T. Rowe Price's commission rates are fairly higher than the industry average for brokerage firms. The firm charges an undisclosed for stocks and ETFS, while options trades are are also undisclosed. When you compare these fees to discount brokerage firms that charge less than half of these rates for similar stocks and services, it can be pretty difficult to justify the increase in cost. It can be even more difficult to justify when these other brokerage firms offer more features and advanced trading tools. Additionally, while some discount brokerage firms allow users to open accounts with $0 in them, T. Rowe. Price has a minimum of $2,500 for non-retirement mutual fund accounts. This minimum account balance means users who want to test out a brokerage firm before committing funds to it, won't get the opportunity to do so. Other limitations include:
- Premier services
- Client support
To save money, users should be aware of the $20 annual fees they can avoid simply be electing to receive electronic statements, confirmations, and reports over the paper version of these documents. Potential clients should ensure they're happy with T. Rowe Price's services before committing to the company, otherwise they could be blind-sighted with a $35 fee for leaving the company. Since, the firm tends to reward its long-term investors who have a lot of funds in their accounts and who steadily invest with the company, active traders should probably look elsewhere for their investment needs.
The brokerage firm also tends to offer fewer services for its additional costs. It offers the basic tools that users require to place trades such as, stock screeners, access to cooperate news, and email alerts. For professional investors who are used to sophisticated trading platforms and features, these basic tools could become frustrating. Furthermore, the firm's education center is also lacking. Its glossary and the few articles it offers are geared toward beginner investors. Intermediate investors, who may want to further develop their craft, could find these educational resources inadequate.
The brokerage firm's customer support services should also be improved. The firm's representatives can be reached via phone and via email. While these two modes of communication may have been sufficient years ago, in today's competitive market, the firm should look into offering live chat support for investors who may not have time to wait for an email response or who may not be an appropriate environment to make a call and discuss sensitive information such as their investments.
A final drawback to the firm is its app, which is only available on iOS smartphone and tablet devices. Other smartphone and tablet users are thus ostracized from accessing the app, something investors on the go should know about before committing to the brokerage firm.
The Bottom Line
T. Rowe Price offers its clients the option of investing in a variety of securities. These investors can benefit from the assortment of securities available to them so as to diversify their portfolios and manage the financial risks associated with placing trades. The firm is especially ideal for investors looking to invest in mutual funds, since the firm specializes and offers plenty of mutual funds. The brokerage firm also has a lot of years of experience under its belt, compared to the firms that are out there today. This fact is great for investors looking for a long-standing firm to work with, especially for investors who can reap the firm's benefits by maintaining large account balances and net assets.
Having said all of this, T. Rowe Price offers steep commission rates for its services. These rates are very difficult to justify especially when there are so many discount brokerage firms - like TD Ameritrade and Schwab - that charge affordable commission rates, offer a similar variety of investment options, and provide advanced trading features.
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