Fidelity review

4-star brokerage firm rating

Fidelity Investments Review

Fidelity Review 2015: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $7.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $32.95
Stocks and ETFs FAST (automated service phone) $12.95
Options $7.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds$49.95 ($75 for some funds; Fidelity funds are commission free)
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, precious metals, ETFs
Fidelity minimum deposit to open account $2,500 ($0 for Rollover IRA; $2,500 or $200/mo. for ROTH and Traditional IRA)
FeesFidelity fees

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 setup of ACH to transfer money from/to a bank.

After the account is opened, transferring money from your bank is a simple matter of going to Account -> Transfer Money/Shares in the main menu of the homepage. The main downside is that the ACH deposits you make 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, that target dozens of asset classes: index funds, U.S. stocks and international stocks funds, asset allocation funds, sector funds and others.

Fidelity Investments Review Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review

Promising though the account opening process was, the website is neither well-organized nor intuitive. It feels cluttered, and messy, and it's often necessary to look around for a while to find what you need. Fidelity can't even list all the fees on the website - instead provides a 6-page PDF document with all their charges.

The Fidelity trading experience is also disappointing. You can't even modify your orders once they’re entered! Also, trade confirmations do not contain the time when order was actually executed.

Fidelity Investments Review

The firm has many of the standard trading tools that other online brokers offer such as stock screeners and portfolio builders that can customize searches based on the things you care about.

One of the best things about online trading with Fidelity is the ability to actually trade stocks in 25 countries via various stock exchanges and 16 currencies around the globe with the flexibility to settle in either U.S. dollars or the local currency.

Fidelity research tools (such as stock screening, historical trading strategies, daily market commentary, and individual stock research) are impressive. There are research reports from 12 different independent firms covering over 4,500 companies, as well as 36 tax, savings, and retirement calculators.

Fidelity Review

Fidelity Investments Review: Company Pros

  • Great research tools with large selection of independent research from 12 firms
  • Commission-free Fidelity mutual funds
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)
  • Rich selection of investment products
  • Good banking services (checking, savings accounts, and credit cards)
  • No surcharges, except for $0.0192 per $1,000 of principal in addition to commission that is added to sell orders

Fidelity Investments Review: Company Cons

  • Very high commissions - $49.95 ($75 for some funds) - on non-Fidelity mutual funds
  • Minimum mutual fund purchase is $2,500
  • $12 annual Low Balance Fee for each noncore Fidelity mutual fund if balance is under $2,000
  • $75 (minimum) mutual fund Short Term Redemption Fee (if a mutual fund is sold less than 180 days after purchase)
  • High margin rates
  • Foreign currency wires cost up to 3% of principal
  • No free streaming quotes (these are available only to active traders, which requires 120+ trades per year via the Active Trader Pro platform)

Fidelity Review Summary

Fidelity Investments is one of the largest brokerage companies in the US, and as such, provides a wide array of services to their investors. Fidelity offers advice in wealth management, investment guidance, college savings, charitable giving and provides lots of educational content for novice and professional investors alike. The firm is offering over 12,000 mutual funds, life insurance, college savings plans and more.

The 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.

Fidelity's mutual fund commission varies from $0 for Fidelity mutual funds to $75 per transaction for some non-Fidelity funds. Keep in mind that there is a $75 short-term redemption fee for mutual funds sold less than 180 days after being purchased. There is also a $12 annual Low Balance Fee for any non-core Fidelity fund with balance under $2,000. The minimum $2,500 mutual fund purchase price will keep some investors from being able to make use of the Fidelity services.

Fidelity's trading tools are disappointing, but its research is among the best.

We recommend opening an account with Fidelity to someone who wants to invest in Fidelity mutual funds for the long run, provided there is enough money to avoid the Low Balance Fee. For everybody else there are better-priced companies on our Best Brokerages list which offer advanced trading platforms, online user communities, and virtual trading.

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Fidelity Reviewed by Brokerage Review on . Reviewed by Editor and 40+ Fidelity customers. Rating: 4

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