Fidelity brokeragelink review 4-star brokerage rating

Fidelity Brokerage Link 401k Account

2022 Fidelity 401k Brokerage Link review: account pros and cons, investments, cost, fees. Is Fidelity 401k Brokerage Link a good idea?

Fidelity 401k Brokerage Link Account Overview

The Fidelity 401k BrokerageLink (Fidelity’s version of a self-directed 401k within a managed 401k account) is one of the most used brokerage windows offered on the market today.

First off, it is important to know that an investor can only have a BrokerageLink account if they have a company sponsored 401k account that allows for the BrokerageLink. The BrokerageLink account functions as a regular trading account (brokerage window) that allows the client to move portions of their 401k money into a trading window but still keep it as part of their 401k retirement account. This is great for people who want to have a little more day to day control of the investing process.

There are some restrictions to the use of this account (e.g. no option trading or shorts) but in general it allows for a great deal of flexibility. The following Pros and Cons can provide a little insight to the investor who hasn’t utilized a brokerage window in the past.

Fidelity Brokerage Link Pros

BrokerageLink is a service provided by Fidelity. Some investors might be thinking that this isn’t necessarily a pro, but there are various reasons why it adds value to the comprehensive package of a BrokerageLink account:

  • Dedicated customer service (via the 401k Team)
  • Reasonable per order cost - $0 per online trade
  • Easy to use interface and stock performance layout
  • Retirement planning tools
  • Up to date news and market analysis
  • Services regarding investment analysis and financial planning for free

Fidelity’s staff are licensed brokers with their Series 7, so they are able to provide insight beyond the traditional customer service representative.

Fidelity 401k BrokerageLink allows flexibility in investment opportunities. Most of the time, the investor cannot actively manage the investments in a 401k portfolio and is forced to select predetermined retirement funds, company stock plans, indexes and etc. BrokerageLink enables the customer to invest in stocks, ETFs, thousands of mutual funds, and other products.

Utilization of a lot of these products is a HUGE plus for the traders who are interested in active management of their portfolio and allows a level of diversification that it not achieved in a regular 401k account.

Fidelity’s fee structure for the BrokerageLink account is extremely simple. Fidelity only charges fees on the orders placed by the investor. They went from a $8 per trade to the $0 per trade and it really makes a difference on the bottom line. Mutual funds are the same $49.99. Here are the rates, per transaction, of some of the competitors in their self-directed 401k.

TD Ameritrade - $0 per online stock or ETF trade; $49.95 to buy a mutual fund.

Ally Invest - $0 per online stock or ETF trade; $9.95 to trade a mutual fund.

Webull - $0 per online stock or ETF trade; $0 to trade options.

fidelity brokeragelink 401k

Fidelity Brokerage Link Cons

Most of the cons revolve around some of the inherent limitations of the account. These aren’t typically controlled by Fidelity, but rather, are set by the sponsoring company of the investor’s 401k or by rules set by the government.

Maximum of 50% of 401k cash can be moved into the BrokerageLink account. To be clear, that means that at any time if the portfolio is more heavily weighted on the BrokerageLink side; cash cannot be added to it. Hypothetically, if the value of the BrokerageLink account were to sky rocket due to a successful investment; the investor would not be able to add cash into the BrokerageLink account until the total value of the portfolio balances itself. See the example below.

No opportunity to trade options. For most customers this doesn’t matter at all. A lot of people don’t have an understanding of the basics of options and that is entirely fine. Options trading is not typically offered in the majority of 401k plans anyway so it is not a major differentiator.

Short selling is not allowed. The bearish investor will be amiss here as there is no way for the investor to short stocks or ETFs. A great deal of investors rely on this as an investment strategy but they will need to find another broker for this.

Limitations on Stock Purchase. Each sponsoring company defines what restrictions are in place for the investor’s BrokerageLink so there are limitations as to what stocks can be selected. Frequently, there are restrictions on penny stocks (stocks trading below $1).

Fidelity 401k brokerage account

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Fidelity Brokerage Link Review Summary

Despite these cons, there is a strong argument for the use of the 401k BrokerageLink. Most active investors don’t enjoy being limited by the regular 401k account options. The Fidelity BrokerageLink account allows for a more customizable investment strategy not found at most 401k accounts.

About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.