Fidelity Investments review 2022
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Fidelity: Best for
- Overall experience
- Beginning investors
- Customer support
With an investor-friendly attitude pervading everything Fidelity Investments does, it’s a great fit for new and advanced investors alike. Fidelity does it all at a high level, whether that’s the friendly and helpful customer support, fee-free mutual funds, low costs, a wealth of research or even the recently introduced ability to buy fractional shares. The broker also lets you dodge fees that other brokers still hit you for, and you’re not paying for it with a hard-to-use site or a poor experience. And did we mention that customer support? You can be on with a real human in minutes – and more importantly, get your questions answered and be on your way.
So Fidelity makes a fine choice for your broker, and given all the financial services there, you’ll be able to grow your relationship as you grow your wealth. In fact, in Bankrate’s reviews Fidelity was a standout for beginners and retirement investors.
Charles Schwab is a key rival, and those looking to consolidate their financial life at a big institution should have a look at Merrill Edge, too. If you’re looking for the broadest selection of securities, see Interactive Brokers.
Fidelity: In the details
Top features you’ll love
Active Trader Pro
The biggest tool at Fidelity is Active Trader Pro, the broker’s flagship trading platform. You’ll be able to set up the look of the platform with one of a few preset layouts or customize it completely to your preferences. You’ll be able to build stock charts, show dozens of technical indicators and place multiple trades at a time.
Fidelity’s other trade tools – such as Real-Time Analytics and Trade Armor (more below) – are integrated into the platform dashboard for easy access. You can pull streaming Bloomberg TV onto your desktop as well.
Fidelity Spire app
The recently introduced Spire app may help you get your financial goals in order. The app lets you connect all your accounts in one place so you have a complete picture of your financial life. Then you can plug in your short- and long-term goals and track your progress toward them.
You’ll also have a stripped-down interface that lets you buy and sell stocks, ETFs and bonds. Note that the Spire app is in addition to Fidelity’s more fully featured mobile app.
Pros: Where Fidelity stands out
Although Fidelity offers the rock-bottom of commission prices in the industry, it also doesn’t offer rock-bottom features, which is not the usual trade-off if you care only about costs. At Fidelity you’ll pay $0 for stock and ETF trades – for a high level of features, including all of its research and educational offerings as well as a wealth of trading tools. Fidelity’s commission is competitive with other top brokers such as Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.
For options, Fidelity charges a figure that’s in line with much of the industry, $0.65 per contract.
Account fees, account types and no minimum
If you’re looking to minimize all those “nickel and dime” fees that brokers often bombard you with, you could hardly do better than Fidelity. The broker charges no fee for the standard categories – including account or activity fees and transfer-out fees – as well as some of the obscure ones such as the IRA closeout and reorganization fees. Some brokers charge as much as $125 to transfer out your account, and top broker Charles Schwab still hits you for $50 for a full transfer out. But Fidelity? Zip. Maybe they’re confident you’re going to stick around.
And if you pay bills from your brokerage account, Fidelity doesn’t charge for typical bank fees either. These include stop-payment fees or ATM fees. Fidelity is incredibly investor-friendly. On top of all of this, the broker has no account minimum, so it’s easy to get started, too.
Clients can trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and options at Fidelity — and the broker has almost any account type imaginable. That includes individual and joint accounts, business accounts (SEP IRA and solo 401(k)), health savings accounts, 529 education savings plans and many more.
If you’d prefer the broker to manage your portfolio, you can set up your account with Fidelity Go, the company’s robo-advisor service. It’s a solid pick for cost-conscious and beginning investors.
Fidelity performs great in this area, and it offers customers two investor-friendly ways to play mutual funds.
No-transaction-fee funds: The broker offers more than 3,400 mutual funds without a transaction fee. That means you can get into and out of the fund without cost, though you’ll still be on the hook for any expense ratio charged by the fund. Fidelity has a huge selection of these advantaged funds, and compares well with the best brokers, even if it doesn’t have the most.
Fee-free funds: As if that weren’t enough, Fidelity does even better, offering four mutual funds without an expense ratio at all, part of what it calls its ZERO mutual fund line-up. It’s the first company to offer fee-free mutual funds, though you don’t have to be a customer of the brokerage to buy them. Without a transaction fee or an annual expense ratio, you could own the fund at no ongoing cost, a great deal. A Fidelity ZERO fund hits our list of best index funds, too.
Fidelity offers a fractional share purchase program called Stocks by the Slice, which allows you to buy partial shares for as little as $1. You’re able to buy shares in more than 7,000 stocks and ETFs for the same no-cost commission that you’re used to, and you can reinvest any dividends into fractional shares as well, making your money maximally effective.
This wide selection of securities for the program distinguishes it from Schwab’s similar offering, where you’ll be limited to stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500. Where Fidelity could take a cue from Schwab, however, is the latter’s less tedious order entry ticket. At Fidelity you’ll need to enter each order separately rather than as a batch order as you would at Schwab.
Fidelity’s mobile app doesn’t have a catchy name – Fidelity Mobile – but it can still help you get a lot done:
- Manage your individual and workplace accounts, and monitor your portfolio.
- Trade securities, including stocks, ETFs and mutual funds and those more complex options trades, too.
- Input trades for fractional shares.
- Pay bills, access tax forms and receive customizable alerts.
- Access a personalized feed of news based on the market and your holdings.
- Listen to Fidelity podcasts on finance and the economy.
In short, you’ll be able to get a high level of functionality from the mobile app. The app gets solid ratings on Google Play and even better scores on Apple’s App Store.
Research and education
Fidelity offers an extensive lineup of research and education resources for investors of every level. Even if you’re not yet a customer, you can check them out for free to see if you like them.
Research: There is a vast amount of valuable information available on the Fidelity site. Go to the page for an individual stock and you can receive financial data, competitor analysis, news and reports on individual stocks from a variety of third-party research companies including Thomson Reuters, Ned Davis, Zacks, and many others.
You’ll also have access to SEC filings and a variety of sources of market commentary. And you’ll find further reports on ETFs. Really the resources go on and on, and with the clean layout you’ll have no problems finding what you’re looking for.
Education: You can get assistance on the basics of personal finance – budgeting, managing debt and saving – but it goes way beyond planning and advice. In Fidelity’s learning center, you can attend webinars or view recorded ones that detail almost any aspect of trading, options, funds and how to use the many tools Fidelity offers, such as Active Trader Pro. You’ll find the short courses ranked according to skill level, helping you progress as you gain mastery.
Besides Active Trader Pro, Fidelity provides a number of other tools if you’re looking to improve your trading or to get better trade ideas.
Real-time Analytics: This tool provides trade signals in real-time based on historical price movements. You’ll be alerted when a stock hits a new high or low, crosses a key technical level or shows other unusual activity.
Trade Armor: Trade Armor allows you to visualize your trading opportunities on a chart. You can set alerts to track price movements and determine prices to get in and out of a position. You can also enter orders right from the tool, among many other things.
Daily Dashboard: This tool pops up when you launch Active Trader Pro and provides real-time news, earnings and economic news, so that you’re abreast of what’s impacting your portfolio.
Cons: Where Fidelity could improve
New account bonus
Fidelity does not offer any account bonuses, unlike a number of its rivals. For all that Fidelity offers in the way of other features and tools, that’s a modest trade-off and shouldn’t dissuade you if the broker otherwise meets your needs. For those who need an account bonus, however, see Bankrate’s list of the best brokerage account bonuses.
Fidelity doesn’t offer trading on the more exotic products, such as futures and forex, though it does all the basics – stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options. That array is probably going to suffice for more than 99 percent of investors. Are we splitting hairs here? Absolutely, but it’s worth knowing what the broker can and can’t do for you.
It’s worth noting that you won’t be able to trade cryptocurrency directly at Fidelity either. So no Bitcoin or Ethereum for you crypto fans. Again, that’s not a dealbreaker if you don’t need crypto, and Fidelity still does allow you to buy certain exchange-traded cryptocurrency products, such as ETFs. If you’re knee-deep in crypto, you’ll likely want to work with a specialty cryptocurrency exchange anyway.
Trading restrictions on some securities
Surprisingly, for such an investor-friendly broker, Fidelity has trading restrictions on some of the more esoteric (or risky) corners of the stock market, including certain types of preferred stocks. You won’t be able to buy these securities, but you won’t be forced to sell if you’ve transferred them in, per Fidelity’s policy. Now, this policy is unlikely to affect most clients – they’ll probably never run up against it – but more advanced investors may encounter it from time to time.
While you’re not likely to be touched by it, Fidelity nevertheless rightly deserves to be dinged for this paternalistic policy – one that doesn’t exist at key rival Charles Schwab, to our knowledge.