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BofA expands free trading in stocks, ETFs for 5.25M clients

Bank of America is expanding a perk for its loyalty-program members: free trades.

Buildings are reflected in the window of a Bank of America Corp. branch in Alameda, California, U.S., on Monday, April 9, 2018.
Buildings are reflected in the window of a Bank of America Corp. branch in Alameda, California, U.S., on Monday, April 9, 2018. Bank of America Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 16. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

The firm is broadening eligibility for commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs to more than 5.25 million clients who are enrolled in its Preferred Rewards program, it said Wednesday in a statement. That group of customers, which have combined banking and investment assets of more than $425 billion, can trade stocks for free on the firm's Merrill Edge online platform.

“It’s a massive number of our clients that have access and ability to leverage this program,” said Aron Levine, the firm’s head of consumer banking and Merrill Edge. He said the company aims to provide more benefits as customers increase their deposits and investments.

Bank of America plans to spend $250 million over the next four years on its business catering to affluent customers, largely on digital technology, including financial planning and advice tools, Levine said. That follows a $250 million investment in the last four years.