Self Directed Brokerage Account

self-directed brokerage account

“I’ll Do It Myself”
The Self-Directed Brokerage Account (SDBA) is available to participants who want to independently and actively manage an even greater choice of investments. It is for the experienced investor who wants the freedom to invest
a portion of their account into a wide array of investments, such as thousands of publicly-traded mutual funds, exchange traded funds and individual securities.

The SDBA is available to participants in the MERS Defined Contribution Plan, Hybrid Plan, and the 457 Supplemental Retirement Program. To be eligible, your account balance must be above $5,000, which is the minimum amount that must remain invested in either the Retirement Strategies or Premium Select Options. Once established, you may transfer any amount beyond the $5,000 to the SDBA.

This option gives you access to a much broader range of investments, including individual stocks, bonds, CDs, over 100 commission-free Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and more than 13,000 mutual funds, including more than 2,500 No-Load, No-Transaction Fee (NFTs) Mutual Funds through TD Ameritrade. It allows you the convenience of online trading, the power of innovative research tools, and the support of retirement brokerage specialists.

The SDBA is for knowledgeable investors who seek more investment choices, and who understand the risks and costs associated with the investments offered in the SDBA. Unlike the Retirement Strategies and Premium Select Options, the investment choices available through the SDBA, are not approved, selected, monitored, or reviewed by MERS or your employer. When you elect to open the SDBA, you assume the sole responsibility for researching, selecting, monitoring, and managing the investments.

With an SDBA, you get access to a comprehensive library of resources designed to help you make more informed investing decisions. The online screeners can help you apply filtering criteria, such as ratings, fundamentals, valuation, performance, price and volume, to help you generate investment ideas that might fit your individual strategies. In addition, you can easily access the SDBA through mobile apps or by calling to connect with dedicated participant service representatives at TD Ameritrade.

How do I open a SDBA?

  1. Log-in to your myMERS account.
  2. Select your MERS program and click “Change my Investments”.
  3. Click “Self Directed Brokerage” at the bottom of the left navigation bar (not available for MERS Health Care Savings Program participants).
  4. Click the “Enroll Now” button.
  5. Read and acknowledge the disclaimers and fee information from TD Ameritrade
  6. TD Ameritrade will process the application and send you the SDBA login information to your account at TD Ameritrade
    • Timeframe: Allow up to 10 business days for processing
  7. Once established, you may log-in to your myMERS account and begin transferring a portion of your account balance to your SDBA


If you have questions, or to check in on your enrollment, contact Alerus at 1.866.808.7823 (option 3).

Disclaimer: The information contained in this Web site is being made available as a public service. The information is not intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice, or to replace official versions of that information. Benefit Estimates or Service Credit Purchase estimates requested through this Web site are not official descriptions of any benefits, and do not represent a promise by MERS to provide any benefit(s) to any person(s). No one can detrimentally rely upon the information provided in, or requested through this Web site. MERS reserves the right to correct any errors, and presents this information without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information's accuracy, timeliness or completeness. If you believe the information is inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete, or if you have problems accessing or reading the information, please call MERS at 800.767.6377.