Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Asset Accounts Offer Many Bank Services

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Asset Accounts Offer Many Bank Services

Article excerpt

Investors with at least $5,000 in cash or securities should ask themselves whether they really need a bank account. The asset-management accounts offered by many brokerage firms can cover most - perhaps all - of the services you need.

When you open an asset-management account, you typically get:

A money-market fund. It serves as an interest-paying checking account but with higher rates than you'd earn at a bank.

A debit card. Like checks, debit cards pay for purchases by authorizing withdrawals from your account.

A margin account, which lets you borrow against the security of the stocks or mutual funds you own.

A brokerage account. Any interest, dividends or capital gains are swept into your money-market account.

A single monthly statement showing all your financial transactions.

Your debit cards are usable anywhere that an equivalent bank card would be accepted, including merchants and ATMs worldwide. Your checks are accepted as readily as bank checks.

Your margin account serves as a credit line, providing loans at lower rates of interest than many bank credit cards charge. There are some fees attached to asset-management accounts but they're often less than you'd pay at banks.

The drawbacks: It may take up to 15 days for a check to clear. You have no federal deposit insurance (although you're protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. …

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