|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2011)|
|Headquarters||Seattle, WA, United States|
|Key people||Daniel Greenshields, President|
|Parent||ING Bank, fsb, a subsidiary of Capital One operating as ING DIRECT|
ShareBuilder (formally ShareBuilder Securities Corporation) is a United States based online brokerage firm founded in 1996 (as NetStock Direct). It encourages recurring, automatic purchases of shares of stock, ING Mutual Funds (Class O) and exchange-traded funds. All transactions occur online and are entirely at the discretion of the account holder, thus it is an execution-only service. The company does not have brokerage sales representatives or advisors. Account holders can use ShareBuilder's online research tools to investigate stocks, similar to other online brokerages such as Scottrade, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity. In 2005, ShareBuilder began offering 401(k) plans to small businesses. On November 19, 2007, ShareBuilder Corporation was purchased by ING Direct, a subsidiary of ING Group for US $220 million. In June 2009, ShareBuilder moved its headquarters from Bellevue, Washington to 83 King Street, in the Pioneer Square district of Seattle, Washington. In February 2012, Capital One Financial Corporation completed its acquisition of ING Bank, fsb, and its subsidiaries, including ShareBuilder Corporation. ShareBuilder is no longer affiliated with ING Group.
The following are the basic types of accounts available with ShareBuilder:
- Individual Account – An account for one adult
- Joint Account – An account shared by two adults
- Traditional/Rollover IRA – One of the IRA options available to prepare for retirement
- Roth or Conversion IRA – One IRA option to help prepare for retirement (must meet eligibility requirements set by the IRS)
- ShareBuilder ESA (Education Savings Account) – Created to help pay for the education of the beneficiary of the account
- Custodial Account – Account created by an adult, for the benefit of a minor
The account holder can apply any amount of money desired toward buying stock or ETFs; purchasing either whole shares or fractional amounts. ShareBuilder does not require minimum account balances, allowing people to invest small amounts of money. Using the automated tools an account holder can set a specific dollar amount to invest at a given interval into direct stocks or ETFs. The brokerage fee for real-time investments formerly ranged from $11.95 to $15.95, but after the ING purchase, it dropped to $9.95. Under the Advantage Plan, an investor is charged $7.95 per real time trade. Current fee for online trading is $6.95/trade.
ShareBuilder also allows "automatic investments" every Tuesday for rates as low as $1.00 each. Under the Advantage pricing program, the account holder pays a subscription fee of $12 per month and is entitled to make up to 12 automatic Tuesday purchases at no additional cost. The Basic pricing program does not have a monthly charge, and allows the account holder to make an automatic Tuesday purchase for $4. An account holder can change pricing programs from month to month: for example, an account holder who would like to invest a windfall of $10,000, spread among 12 stocks, could select the Standard program and pay $12 for 12 stock purchases; then, if he or she expected not to purchase any more stocks in the near future, he or she could switch to the Basic program and there would be no additional charge.
The automatic investment program can be updated as late as 5 pm ET on Monday prior to a Tuesday morning purchase, so it is possible for an account holder to pay no monthly fee and enter a $4 purchase on Monday afternoon after the market closes that will be executed first thing Tuesday morning. However, the only way to sell a stock or ETF is through a real-time trade.
For approved investors, ShareBuilder also offers basic option trading strategies such as buying calls or puts and writing covered calls. Long margin investing (i.e. buying on margin) is also offered, but not short margin (i.e. short selling). A minimum of $2,000 in deposits is required to begin margin investing and one's "Buying Power" is based on the value of the account from outside sources.
Industry Awards and Rankings
ShareBuilder earned two stars and finished twentieth overall in the StockBrokers.com 2011 Online Broker Review. In 2012, they earned three stars and a fifteenth place finish. For 2013, ShareBuilder continued improving, earning three stars, a twelfth place finish, and Best Online Banking Services. In 2014, ShareBuilder shifted up one position to eighth with a four star rating and were awarded #1 Online Banking Services.
- "ING DIRECT acquires ShareBuilder" (Press release). ShareBuilder Securities Corporation. 2007-11-19. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- "ING DIRECT acquires ShareBuilder" (Press release). ShareBuilder Securities Corporation. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- Landes, Luke (February 17, 2012). "Federal Reserve Approves Capital One's Acquisition of ING Direct". Forbes.com. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- "2011 Online Broker Review", January 18, 2011.
- "2012 Online Broker Review", February 21, 2012.
- "2013 Online Broker Review", February 19, 2013.
- "2014 Online Broker Review", February 18, 2014.