Fidelity Review
4-star brokerage firm rating

Fidelity Review



Fidelity Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $7.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $32.95
Options $7.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds$49.95 ($75 for some funds; Fidelity funds are commission free) to buy; $0 to sell ($49.95 if sold within 60 days)
Bonds (U.S. Treasury Auctions, including TIPS Auctions, U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes), primary market CDs on a net yield basis
GSE (Agency Securities), secondary CDs, Municipals, Corporates (BBB- or higher), CATS/TIGRS, Corporates (BB+ or lower) $1 per bond ($250 max; $50 max if maturing in one year)
Commercial Paper $50 per transaction

Investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, commercial paper, forex, foreign stocks, UITs, ETFs
Fidelity minimum deposit to open account $2,500 ($0 for Rollover IRA; $2,500 or $200 per month for ROTH and Traditional IRA)
FeesFidelity fees
Promotion and login linksFidelity Investments login, Fidelity promotions


Fidelity New Account Setup

Fidelity's account opening process is very well designed and quick - it took only ten minutes to open a regular brokerage (non-IRA) account. The application includes designating a beneficiary, setting up document delivery options (we always choose email) and ACH information to transfer money from/to a bank.

After the account is opened, transferring money from your bank is a simple matter of going to Accounts & Trade -> Transfer Money/Shares in the main menu of the homepage. The main downside is that the ACH deposits you make with Fidelity will generally not be available for trading (or withdrawal) for up to 4-6 business days, which is much longer than with many other brokers.


Fidelity Mutual Funds Review


Fidelity Investments is one of the largest mutual fund companies in the world, with 430 mutual funds under management. The funds target dozens of asset classes: index funds, U.S. stocks and international stocks funds, asset allocation funds, sector funds and others.

Investors at Fidelity can buy and sell 11,672 mutual funds. This number includes all fund families. The broker has 3,572 funds that have no transaction fee. Approximately half of these also have no load. Searching through all of the funds is fairly straightforward with the broker's excellent screener. Users can search for only Fidelity funds, or specify a certain Morningstar rating, or require a minimum yield. Other criteria include bond duration, expense ratio, manager tenure, minimum investment, and asset class. Other mutual fund tools at Fidelity include mutual fund recommendations from Kiplinger and Money magazines, a comparison between Fidelity and Vanguard funds, and videos on mutual fund investing.

Fidelity's own mutual funds and funds in NTF program are commission free. All other mutual funds can be purchased for $49.95 or $75, depending on the fund. Selling mutual funds is free unless client sells within 60 days of purchasing - then Short Term Trading Fee of $49.95 applies (does not apply to Fidelity family funds). There is a Low Balance Fee of $12 per year for each noncore Fidelity fund with balance under $2,000.


Fidelity Investments Review


IRA's


There are no IRA fees at Fidelity. This includes no inactivity fees, no setup fees, and no annual fees. There is also no minimum deposit required to open an IRA with the broker. Investors can choose from SIMPLE, SEP, Rollover, Traditional, Roth, Minor Roth, and Inherited IRA's.

Fidelity has several good IRA calculators and educational resources. For example, a contribution calculator for IRA's determines how much an investor can contribute to an IRA based on criteria such as modified adjusted gross income, age, and tax filing status. The Fidelity website also has a useful conversion calculator to help investors decide if changing a Traditional IRA to a Roth makes good financial sense. Inputting data such as age, tax-filing status, and account balance produces a graph showing the hypothetical retirement value of making the conversion versus not doing so.


Fidelity Review: Website/Trading Platform/Tools


Website

Fidelity.com website is now much better designed, less cluttered, and more intuitive than it used to be. But some parts of it are still using old design and parts of it are missing navigation menu.

All Fidelity accounts, including cash management and retirement accounts, are accessible with a single login. Orders can be placed on the website for a variety of securities. There is a trade ticket, although it's not quite as advanced as TD Ameritrade's and Merrill Edge's.

The site has good screeners for ETF's, mutual funds, and stocks. A fixed-income screener searches for over 50,000 bonds. After selecting an individual product, placing the trade is straightforward using the broker's web page. Important information is displayed, including third-party prices and the current bid-ask spread.

The Fidelity website has better features than the app, as might be expected. This is true particularly for research. Charting on the website is also more advanced than what the mobile app offers.


Fidelity Review


Active Trader Pro

Fidelity's most advanced trading system is Active Trader Pro. It is available via the web at ActiveTraderPro.com. It is also available as a desktop program, which the broker recommends. The platform has many useful features that active traders will enjoy, such as streaming market data. Charts are interactive and have event and pattern recognition. The platform can trade stocks, ETF's, and options.

Active Trader Pro has the ability to save as many as 50 orders and place them all at the same time using a multi-trade ticket. Conditional orders and triggers can also be used on the platform. Day trading and using unsettled funds are both possible with this program.

Fidelity requires certain minimums in order to use the platform. Customers must execute at least 36 trades per year. In comparison, TD Ameritrade has no frequent trader requirement for its advanced platform, and Merrill Edge requires 60 trades per year.


Mobile Trading

Fidelity clients can buy and sell securities on several devices. These include Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Windows Phone 8. The broker recently launched an application for Apple TV as well.

The mobile platform is intuitive. It takes just a few minutes to learn where everything is at and how to trade. The software has many valuable features. Of course, there is order placement: users can trade ETF's, stocks, options, and mutual funds. There is also position and balance information, market news, mobile check deposit, and funds transfer. Minimal research can also be conducted on a mobile device.

Charts can be displayed for ETF's and stocks. The chart is able to rotate if the phone or tablet is rotated. Candlesticks, bars, area, and line format can be used for the graph's display. Read detailed Fidelity mobile app review.


Fidelity Investments Review


Fidelity Pros


  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Great investment research tools with large selection of independent research from 12 firms
  • Huge selection of commission-free mutual funds
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Great customer service
  • Rich selection of investment products
  • Good banking services (checking, savings accounts, and credit cards)
  • 84 commission-free ETFs


Fidelity Cons


  • Very high commissions - $49.95 ($75 for some funds) - to purchase non-Fidelity mutual funds
  • $12 annual Low Balance Fee for each noncore Fidelity mutual fund if balance is under $2,000
  • High margin rates
  • Advanced trading platform, Active Trader Pro, is available only to clients making 36+ trades per year
  • High $2,500 minimum to open an account


Recommendations


Fidelity is a good broker for beginners. The firm is known for its excellent customer service, which is available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are many educational resources on the broker's website to help new investors learn the ropes of investing. Fidelity also has over 180 branch locations throughout the United States that are able to provide more personal service to clients who need it.


Fidelity Review Summary


Fidelity Investments is one of the largest brokerage companies in the U.S., and as such, provides a wide array of services to their investors. Fidelity offers advice in wealth management and charitable giving; investment guidance; and provides lots of educational content for novice and professional investors alike. The firm is offering over 10,000 mutual funds; life insurance; college savings plans and more.

Fidelity's commission for stocks and ETFs is $7.95 per trade, which is just slightly above the average in the industry. Options trading costs $7.95 plus $0.75 per contract. The company does not charge account maintenance (except $25 year for SIMPLE IRA) or inactivity fees, and does not add surcharges on penny stocks, large orders or extended hours trading. But the minimum initial deposit for most accounts is somewhat high $2,500.

Fidelity's mutual fund commission varies from $0 for Fidelity and NTF mutual funds to $75 per transaction for some non-Fidelity funds. Investors should keep in mind a $50 short-term redemption fee for mutual funds sold less than 60 days after being purchased. There is also a $12 annual Low Balance Fee for any non-core Fidelity fund with balance under $2,000.

For added convenience, Fidelity offers clients a cash management account. The account provides all of the standard features expected of a checking account, such as online and mobile banking, a free debit card, and checkwriting privileges, as well as additional perks like ATM fee rebates, cash back opportunities, and interest on your balance.

Fidelity's website needs more work, but their independent investment research from third parties is among the best in the industry. The firm created powerful, advanced trading platform but it is available only to clients making at least 36 trades per year. In contrast, the best trading platform on the market, TD Ameritrade's ThinkorSwim, is available to all TD Ameritrade clients.

We recommend opening an account with Fidelity to someone who wants to invest in Fidelity ETFs and mutual funds for the long run, provided there is enough money to avoid the Low Balance Fee.


Open Fidelity Investments Account



Open Fidelity Account


Fidelity reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 4


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