Fidelity vs M1 Finance 2021


M1 Finance vs Fidelity Investments for online investing. Compare cost, brokerage fees, IRA accounts, and differences. Which firm is better?



M1 Finance vs. Fidelity Introduction


Fidelity has a larger advertising budget than M1 Finance. Does that mean it’s the better brokerage firm? Take a look at our analysis.


Pricing


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
M1 Finance $0 na na $0 $0


Promotions


M1 Finance: $30 bonus for funding account with $1,000. Transfer account to get up to $4,000 bonus.

Fidelity: Get $0 stocks commissions.



Category 1: Investing Methods


At M1 Finance, investors buy and sell Pies. These are collections of equities and exchange-traded funds. M1 Finance creates Pies that customers can buy; they can also build their own. Every Pie has a theme like Domestic Dividend and Short-Term Bonds.

Because M1 permits just one security in a Pie, it’s possible to trade individual stocks and funds. But it’s not possible to send orders to the exchanges whenever you want. M1 Finance has just two trading windows per day.

Fidelity traders can send orders to the exchanges whenever they want. Moreover, these orders are not just for stocks and ETFs, but also for bonds, mutual funds, and option contracts. The brokerage firm also offers life insurance, annuities, and foreign stocks.

Besides self-directed services, Fidelity offers investment-advisory packages in both robo and human formats. The lowest prices will be found on the digital system, which has the following sliding scale:

- Less than $10,000 in assets: Free
- $10,000 – $49,999: $3 per month​​​
- More than $50,000: 0.35% per annum

M1 Finance doesn’t charge anything for its Pies other than expense ratios in underlying funds. Funds in Fidelity’s robo program have no expense ratios.

Winner: Fidelity


M1 vs Fidelity


Category 2: Websites


To submit an order for securities at M1 Finance, you’ll use a simple website, and we do mean simple. The order ticket doesn’t have many features, and it’s more of an order request; M1 takes these and submits them to the exchanges at certain times of the day.

Charting on the M1 site is basically worthless—just line format with no tools.

Trading on the Fidelity site is a very different experience altogether. The broker’s order ticket offers several order types, including trailing and stop, and multiple time-in-force options. Charting is available in full-screen mode with lots of tools, including comparisons and company events.

Winner: Fidelity


Category 3: Desktop Software


Fidelity clients who don’t feel the website offers enough trading power can upgrade to the company’s desktop software. Called Active Trader Pro, this program delivers a professional-level experience without any fees or account minimums. During our testing, we really liked these features:

- Basket trading (ability to send multiple orders at the same time)
- Level II quotes
- Advanced option strategies
- Live streaming of Bloomberg Television
- Real-time alerts
- Sophisticated charting tools with technical analysis


Fidelity vs M1


Because M1 Finance is more of a buy-and-hold broker, it does not have a desktop program.

Winner: Fidelity


Category 4: Mobile Platforms


M1 Finance’s overly simple website makes another appearance on the company’s mobile app. Modeled after its website cousin, the mobile system has the same interface and tools. For example, it’s possible to browse through available Pies, create your own, and even use horizontal charting.


M1 or Fidelity


But M1’s mobile software doesn’t offer any advanced trading tools. Fidelity does; they include a very good order ticket and charting with technical indicators. Webinars and podcasts are available on the app, and mobile check deposit is icing on the cake.


Fidelity or M1


Winner: Fidelity


Category 5: Education and Research


For security research, M1 Finance offers a (very simple) screener on its website. The tool offers just a few search criteria, like P/E ratio and market cap. Security profiles have minimal data points, and the broker has very brief articles (in a FAQ section) on investing topics.

For investment education, Fidelity offers not only articles, but also videos, podcasts, webinars, in-person events, and more. These resources cover many trading areas, from options to margin to annuities.

One of Fidelity’s strong points in this category is the amount of information the broker offers on stock profiles. There are many helpful resources, including analyst ratings, pdf reports, technical analysis, ESG ratings, and so much more.

Winner: Fidelity


Category 6: Margin Borrowing


Both broker-dealers in this survey offer margin loans. M1 Finance has a $10,000 account minimum, while Fidelity requires just $2,000. M1 customers can borrow up to 35% of account equity, while Fidelity customers can borrow up to 50%. Fidelity also offers portfolio margin, which provides even greater leverage.

M1 Finance customers pay either 2% or 3.5%, while Fidelity’s rates vary from 4.025% to 8.325%. Although Fidelity is clearly more expensive, its software does offer much better margin tools, including a calculator that can show the impact of hypothetical trades and a widget that reveals a stock’s margin requirements. Fidelity also offers limited margin trading in IRAs, something that M1 Finance doesn’t provide.

Winner: M1 Finance


Category 7: Other Services


IRAs: M1 Finance offers three IRA types (Roth, Traditional, and SEP). Fidelity offers these plus several more.

IPO Availability: Fidelity customers with deep pockets can participate in Initial Public Offerings before they reach the secondary market. M1 Finance customers cannot.

Fractional-share Trading: Whole-dollar investments can be made at either firm. At M1, these are actually required as the broker’s order form doesn’t offer whole-share trading.

Dividend Reinvestment Program: Both firms offer DRIP service, but M1 Finance requires a minimum $25 reinvestment amount.

Extended Hours: It’s possible to trade in pre-market and after-hours sessions at Fidelity. M1 Finance doesn’t offer these sessions, and in fact, it doesn’t even offer the entire regular session.

Winner: Fidelity


Promotions


M1 Finance: $30 bonus for funding account with $1,000. Transfer account to get up to $4,000 bonus.

Fidelity: Get $0 stocks commissions.



Recommendations


Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Either broker is a good choice.

Beginners: Although M1 Finance is designed for new investors, Fidelity does a much better job in the customer support and educational arenas.

Stock/ETF Trading: With Active Trader Pro and excellent security research tools, it’s an easy decision.

Small Accounts: Both brokers are great.


M1 vs Fidelity Assessment


M1 Finance tries to impress with its Pie method of investing. But this mostly falls short of Fidelity, who continues to overpower its competition.


Updated on 3/6/2021.