I have an Etrade account and will limit my choices to funds available through Etrade, as long as I continue to use Etrade. Let me start by saying that I did not choose Etrade, but I am satisfied with it. I opened a Discover brokerage account which became a Morgan Stanley account which became a HarrisDirect account which then became an Etrade account. The things I keep an eye on are Fees, Mutual Fund offerings, Services and Tools, and Yields on cash held in the account. This can be a bit tedious since brokerages merge, get bought, and change fees and services constantly (see above), but unlike what the market does, you can control what fees you pay and what services you use by keeping abreast of what the competition is offering and change your brokerage if necessary. If you think about brokerages in this light, one of the most important things to identify before setting up an account is the “Account closing fee.”
Another point- The internet is overflowing with Etrade customer service complaints. I too have had difficult and tedious customer service experiences with Etrade, though like many- I was persistent and ultimately reached someone who helped me more than I thought they would. That said- I would be interested in hearing if other full service brokerages offer a broad range of no-load no-fee mutual funds and if other brokerages have better customer service. Such funds are also referred to as NTF (No Transaction Fee) Funds.
Before I start picking funds, I will look at Fees, Mutual Fund offerings, Services and Tools, and Yields on cash held in the account.