Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has decided to increase its minimum equity trade fees to $75 from $50 following a year of research on how its pricing fits the market.

The changes are aimed at helping to bring the firm in line with what other firms it competes with are charging retail investors, after not having changed its equity pricing since 2003. Merrill Lynch is also making undisclosed "modest" increases to its equity commission schedule.

A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman confirmed the news on Thursday, which was first reported by Reuters. Merrill Lynch first disclosed the changes to its "Thundering Herd" of about 16,000 financial advisors via an internal memo on Thursday. The changes are scheduled to take effect on Nov. 1.

The increase in minimum fees to $75 applies to transactions where stock is purchased. But the firm's advisors will continue to be able to adjust those prices to their specific client relationships and the kind of advice provided. Merrill Lynch has not changed its advisor compensation or the ways advisors can charge for equity trades. Those transactions represent a small number of trades for the firm, the Merrill Lynch spokeswoman said.

Merrill Lynch clients will be notified of the changes in their September statements.

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