If you’ve been thinking about moving your investments to a new broker, Ally Invest needs to be on your shortlist. Part of the Ally Bank family, it’s one of the top investment brokerages available, especially when you look at all the services they have for just about every area of your financial life.
About Ally Invest
The investment brokerage was renamed Ally Invest, retaining much of what’s good about TradeKing, while putting Ally Bank’s own winning spin on the new entity.
Ally Invest serves more than 406,000 customer accounts, with $45.8 billion in assets under management.
Ally Bank has $70 billion in customer deposits, and is also one of the most important auto lenders in the country, serving more than 4 million customers. Ally Invest offers both self-directed investing and managed accounts.
On the self-directed side, they offer the full range of investment options, with one of the lowest commission fee structures in the industry.
Table of Contents
Ally Invest Self-Directed Investing
Here’s a drill-down of what they have to offer self-directed investors.
Investments offered: Stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), FOREX, and futures. Checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts are available through Ally Bank (see “Ally Bank” section below).
Minimum initial investment: None(!)
Trading fees: There are no annual fees, inactivity fees, or IRA fees. Trading fees are as follows:
- Stocks, ETFs, and Mutual Funds: $0
- Options: $0.50 per contract
- Bonds: $1 per bond, subject to a $10 minimum/$250 maximum
- US Treasuries: no charge
There are no commissions for Forex trade; Ally Invest earns revenue based on the buy/sell spread.
Customer service: Available 24/7 by phone, email, and live chat.
Account protection: Coverage through the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC) for the $500,000 in cash and securities, including $250,000 in cash.
This is protection against broker failure, not against market losses.
Additional coverage is available for up to $37.5 million, including $900,000 in cash. However, Forex and futures accounts are not covered by this insurance.
Mobile app: iOS and Android.
Checking and debit card access: Apex Capital is the clearing agent for Ally Invest. Checking and debit card access to your account through Apex is offered. Annual fees are $20 for checking and $35 for the debit card.
Open a Self-directed Account
Ally Invest Self-Directed Investing Trading Tools
Ally Invest has one of the most comprehensive panels of trading tools. This is particularly true when it comes to options trading, not the least of which because it was a strong suit for TradeKing.
But it seems whatever TradeKing offered, Ally Invest improved on it and added it to the menu. Some of the trading tools offered by Ally Invest include:
Ally Invest provides six chart types, with more than 90 chart studies and drawing tools. These will help you analyze the performance of stocks, ETFs, and indices. You can also customize settings and utilize interactive charts for prices and studies.
Use this tool to follow groups of securities, tracking their market data.
Research and Market Data
You can get quotes, charts, high/low prices, dividend dates, news, historical quotes, and peer performance comparisons.
With this tool, you can use implied volatility to help you determine the likelihood of hitting your targets before making an investment.
This tool will help you to get a complete understanding of an option trade’s profit and loss potential. You can review outcomes based on fluctuations in volatility and time.
Easily place options trades, even complex multi-leg spreads.
Ally Invest Forex and Futures
This investment option is less popular than individual securities or managed options. But the Forex is actually the most traded market in the world, with an average daily turnover of $3.2 trillion.
It’s a specialized investment to be sure, but if you’re familiar with it, Ally Invest can provide you with a fully equipped platform.
Ally Invest enables you to trade more than 50 currency pairs, including gold and silver. What’s more, trades can be made in real-time. Ally Invest offers comprehensive research and analysis to help you be a better trader.
Forex and Futures customer service
The hours available are more restricted than for the general platform, but still more generous than many other platforms. Customer service works on a “24/5” basis – 24 hours a day, five days per week. It begins Sundays at 10:00 AM, and ends on Fridays at 5:00 PM – all times Eastern.
Forex and Futures minimum initial investment
You can open an account with as little as $250, but Ally Invest recommends a minimum of $2,500 to begin trading. That’s the minimum you will need to be able to take full advantage of the account.
Forex and Futures Mobile App
Trade Forex and futures on the go, using your iPhone or Android. The mobile app provides charting tools, price alerts, real-time news and commentary, and the basic features of the web app.
Forex and Futures Tools
Ally Invest offers several tools to help you up your Forex and futures trading game.
Forex and Futures Practice Account
Ally Invest doesn’t provide this service with the self-directed account, but it is available for Forex and futures. They provide you with a free $50,000 practice account.
They give you full access to the trading platform and tools for up to 30 days. It’ll give you a chance to test your trading skills before going live with real money.
This is the basic trading platform available for both Windows and Mac. It offers real-time position account information, as well as a fully integrated charting tool. It also offers a variety of single and contingent order types, such as If/then, If/then OCO, and Trailing Stops.
Forex Premium Charting
This is a set of professional-grade tools that help you identify and decode Forex patterns and trends. For example, you can decode multiple indicators for advanced technical analysis, view auto trend line indicator continuation on charts, and customize charts to your own individual preferences.
Ally Invest Robo Portfolios
If you’d like to have at least part of your portfolio professionally managed – or even the whole thing – you can. Ally Invest Robo Portfolios is the Ally Invest robo-advisor, providing algorithm-based investment management, similar to what’s offered by other robo-advisors, like Betterment and Wealthfront.
The investment management methodology of Robo Portfolios is typical of Robo advisors. It’s based on modern portfolio theory or MPT.
All aspects of investment management are handled for you, including periodic rebalancing. You begin the process by completing a questionnaire. This is used to determine your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon.
Your portfolio is built using several diversified, low-cost index funds (ETFs). Everything is handled for you from that point forward, and all you need to do is fund your account.
Here are some of the basics of Robo Portfolios:
- Minimum initial investment: $100
- No advisory fees for Cash-Enhanced Robo Portfolios; 0.3% for legacy Robo Portfolios
- Type of accounts available: Individual and joint taxable accounts; traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs; and custodial accounts.
Ally Invest Portfolio Make-Up
Ally Invest offers six different portfolio options:
- Moderate Growth
- Aggressive Growth
- NEW! Socially Responsible Investing
Which portfolio will be used for your account will be determined by your answers to the questionnaire in regard to your risk tolerance. One of the big advantages of Robo Portfolios is that you have the option to change your risk profile from one portfolio to another.
For example, if you’re in a Moderate portfolio, you can switch to Conservative, Moderate Growth, Growth, or Aggressive Growth.
With some robo-advisors, once your risk tolerance is determined, you won’t have the ability to make the change yourself. Each portfolio is comprised of a mix of US stocks, international stocks, US bonds, international bonds, and cash.
Naturally, if you are determined to be a more aggressive investor, your portfolio will hold a higher allocation in stocks.
If you are more conservative, you get a higher allocation in bonds and cash. In the example above, an aggressive growth portfolio consists of 93% stocks, 5% bonds, and 2% cash.
A more detailed breakdown of the ETF composition looks like this:
- US Large Cap Equities – iShares Core S&P500
- US Mid Cap Equities – iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap
- US Small Cap Equities – iShares Core S&P Small Cap
- Developed Ex-US Equities – Vanguard FTSE Developed ETF
- Emerging Market Equities – Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF
- US Government Bonds – iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bonds
- US High-Quality Corp. Bonds – iShares Intermediate Credit Bonds
- Global ex-US Bonds – Vanguard Total International Bonds
Open a Managed Portfolio Account
The Ally Bank relationship is one of the benefits that makes Ally Invest really stand out. Not only can you invest through Ally Invest, but you can also do much of your banking through the Ally Bank platform as well.
Ally Bank is well known for having some of the highest interest rates available on savings anywhere on the web.
They’re also one of the top banks when it comes to auto financing.
Ally Bank offers interest-bearing checking, that enables you to deposit checks remotely. And even though the Bank has no local branches, you will have ATM access at more than 43,000 ATMs around the country.
Meanwhile, Ally Bank will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for any fees charged by other banks’ ATMs.
Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account is a no-fee savings account paying some of the highest interest rates on savings available. This account also features the ability to deposit checks remotely.
Ally Bank’s Money Market Account pays high rates of return and comes with no monthly maintenance fees. You can also get unlimited deposits and ATM withdrawals, as well as make remote deposits.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
This is where Ally Bank really shines. They offer several attractive CDs, that provide some of the highest interest rates on the web.
Ally Bank Lending
Ally Bank has a mortgage lending operation that can meet all of your home financing needs. They also offer a cashback credit card, with unlimited rewards, including 2% back at gas stations and grocery stores, and 1% back on everything else.
There is no annual fee, and the account can be added to either Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
But probably the area where Ally Bank is strongest is with auto financing. They offer innovative programs to either buy or lease a vehicle. They even have specialty vehicle financing, that provides financing options to cover accessibility needs, like wheelchair lifts and right-hand drive capability.
Ally Pre-Owned SmartLease
This is the most interesting of their auto financing options. The SmartLease program enables you to lease used vehicles. They have just three requirements for the vehicle you’re leasing:
- Have clean history reports
- Are less than 4 model years old
- Have fewer than 75,000 miles
With the SmartLease, you’ll also receive automatic Guaranteed Auto Protection and the ability to purchase maintenance coverage similar to what’s offered for new models.
This is a perfect financing option for someone who would prefer to ease into car ownership by first leasing a used vehicle.
Ally also offers Ally Buyer’s Choice, which gives you the choice to sell or continue making payments at 48 or 60 months. With new Mitsubishi, GM, and Chrysler vehicles and some qualifying used vehicles 4 years old or newer, you can qualify for AllyBallon Advantage.
With this loan, your monthly payments are lower and your end-of-contract payment is higher, with a fixed APR.
How Ally Bank Stands Out: Diverse Financial Services Overview
|Ally Bank||Fusion of Investment and Banking Services, High-Interest Rates on Savings and Auto Financing|
|Checking||Interest-Bearing With Remote Check Deposits, Access to 43,000+ ATMs With Fee Reimbursements|
|Savings||No-Fee High-Interest Savings, Remote Check Deposits|
|Money Market||High-Yield, Fee-Free Account, Unlimited Deposits, ATM Withdrawals, Remote Deposits|
|CDs||Competitive Rates on Certificates of Deposit|
|Ally Lending||Mortgage, Cashback Credit Card, Apple Pay/Samsung Pay Compatible, Rewards, No Annual Fee|
|Auto Financing||Innovative Vehicle Financing, Lease Used Vehicles, Flexible Payment Options|
|Pre-Owned SmartLease||Lease Used Vehicles Meeting Specific Criteria, Additional Maintenance Coverage Options|
|Buyer’s Choice||Flexible Payment Terms, Special Loan Options for Specific New and Used Vehicles|
How Does Ally Invest Compare?
|COMPANY||BEST FOR||FEES||MINIMUM INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT|
Wide variety of investing options
None for Robo Portfolios, self-directed stocks, ETFs, and some mutual funds
$100 for managed accounts, none for self-directed
None for a regular brokerage account; $500 for automated investing
Stocks and ETFs
None for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds
For more information, you can check out the individual reviews of E*TRADE and M1Finance.
Should You Invest With Ally Invest?
When TradeKing was around, it was one of the very best trading platforms available, offering some of the lowest commissions anywhere.
Ally Invest has built on that reputation, by maintaining a robust self-directed investment platform. But they’ve taken it a step further by introducing Robo Portfolios.
This is the perfect brokerage if you want to perhaps start out using the managed option, and then slowly work into self-directed investing. You may even decide that you want to balance the two going forward.
That said, if you’re unsure whether Ally Invest is right for you, check out our other brokerage reviews before making your final decision.
Another of the major advantages of Ally is that you can open a self-directed account with no minimum initial deposit. This is made to order for new and small investors, who were just breaking into self-directed investing.
Meanwhile, the platform offers outstanding, round-the-clock customer service to help you along the way.
The connection with Ally Bank is another major plus. The bank provides some of the highest interest rates available on CDs and money markets, but it also offers an impressive menu of auto financing.
That’s not surprising since Ally Bank is descended from General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). They maintain that business line and even improve on it with leasing arrangements for used cars.
You can search the investment universe, but you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a better overall platform than what Ally Invest offers.
How We Review Brokers and Investment Companies:
Good Financial Cents conducts a thorough review of U.S. brokers, focusing on assets under management and notable industry trends.
Our primary objective is to offer a balanced and informative assessment, assisting individuals in making informed decisions about their investment choices. We believe in maintaining a transparent editorial process.
To achieve this, we gather data from providers through detailed questionnaires and take the time to observe provider demonstrations.
This hands-on approach, combined with our independent research, forms the basis of our evaluation process. After considering various factors, we assign a star rating, ranging from one to five, to each broker.
Product Name: Ally Product Description: Ally is a comprehensive digital financial services company encompassing Ally Bank, which offers online banking solutions, and Ally Invest, providing investment tools and opportunities. Known for its user-centric design and transparent services, Ally stands as a strong competitor in the online-only banking and investment sector. Summary of Ally Ally has made significant strides in reshaping the digital financial landscape with its twin pillars: Ally Bank and Ally Invest. Ally Bank delivers a plethora of banking services, such as high-yield savings accounts, checking accounts, and CDs, all tailored for the modern digital consumer. On the other hand, Ally Invest offers a robust platform for both seasoned investors and newcomers, facilitating trading in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more. Unified by a commitment to customer empowerment and education, Ally Financial integrates top-tier technology, resources, and 24/7 support to cater to its vast client base. Pros Cons
Product Name: Ally
Product Description: Ally is a comprehensive digital financial services company encompassing Ally Bank, which offers online banking solutions, and Ally Invest, providing investment tools and opportunities. Known for its user-centric design and transparent services, Ally stands as a strong competitor in the online-only banking and investment sector.
Summary of Ally
Ally has made significant strides in reshaping the digital financial landscape with its twin pillars: Ally Bank and Ally Invest. Ally Bank delivers a plethora of banking services, such as high-yield savings accounts, checking accounts, and CDs, all tailored for the modern digital consumer. On the other hand, Ally Invest offers a robust platform for both seasoned investors and newcomers, facilitating trading in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more. Unified by a commitment to customer empowerment and education, Ally Financial integrates top-tier technology, resources, and 24/7 support to cater to its vast client base.