Consumers of all skill levels frequently turn to Fidelity Investments in Phoenix, AZ as their broker of choice, as this company provides the tools and resources consumers need to feel confident when investing their money. A major name in the brokerage industry, Fidelity Investments continues to be recognized for working with long-term investors, yet recently branched out to attract those who tend to be more active in the markets, allowing all to make use of their products and services. Not only does this company possess more assets than most competitors, it challenges ETRADE and TD Ameritrade in terms of its client base. It’s definitely one company every investor needs to check out, as they have a great deal to offer and very few drawbacks.
One advantage Fidelity Investments has over many of its competitors is the extensive third party research it provides for clients. Individuals find they may choose from fixed income investments, complete with research, or take advantage of the credit card that comes with cash-back rewards. Often, investors opt to leave a company due to a lack of commission-free ETFs and/or international stocks, yet this company offers access to 65 investments of this type, leaving all satisfied with the investment offerings available to them.
Anyone wishing to access the Active Trader Pro platform finds they must make a minimum of 36 trades a year or three trades each month. The average investor often discovers this isn’t something they can easily achieve. In addition, the site fails to provide a site-wide quote bar, and site navigation is lacking in many ways. Other than that, there’s very little to dislike when it comes to this company.
Commissions and Fees
Investors work with a broker to increase their net worth, yet fees and commissions reduce the profit they make from their investments, making this a top concern of many when selecting a broker to partner with. When one chooses Fidelity Investments, they benefit from a flat-fee-commission structure. Those interested in trading stocks pay $7.95 for each trade, while options trades come with a fee of $7.95 plus a $.75 charge per contract. These fees align with those charged by Scottrade, ETRADE, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab. Fidelity does require that an investor have a minimum of $2,500 to trade mutual funds and $5,000 for those who want to engage in margin trading, which may be an issue for some.
Fidelity Investments stands out from its competitors in that it provides the lowest margin rates, ranging from 3.75 percent to 8.08 percent. Only ETRADE comes close in this area, and Fidelity provides customers access to 76 ETFs which are commission free. In 2013, the company only offered access to 30, yet they realized they were falling behind competitors in this area, leading to this major change. In addition, Fidelity allows consumers to make use of a wide range of other financial products, including credit and debit cards and checking and savings accounts, although they have yet to enter the home mortgage business. Individuals looking to obtain a credit card love the cash-back rewards programs seen with cards offered through Fidelity.
Be aware that mutual funds tend to be expensive through this company, unless an investor chooses to make use of one of the commission-free core funds. Other mutual funds typically come with a fee of $50 to $75, and investors discover they pay annual fees on these funds, in addition to short-term redemption fees. Most investors don’t mind, however, as the company fails to charge many brokerage fees seen with other companies. In fact, SIMPLE IRAs come with a $25 annual charge, much lower than the fee seen with numerous competitors.
For those interested in phone or broker-assisted trades, this option remains available also, although those wishing to have a broker assist them find the service comes with a $32.95 charge. These fees are on top of the standard commissions, so investors who frequently choose to make use of these two services need to factor this into the decision making process. Trading stocks with a value of less than $1 and trading before or after market hours doesn’t incur an additional fee. Miscellaneous fees include a $100 stock certificate delivery fee and a $50 IRA closure fee.
International trading offers investors an opportunity to diversify their portfolio. Investors find they may trade stocks from 16 currencies and 25 countries, including Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Austria. Many individuals appreciate having this option available to them, as they prefer to diversify their portfolio to reduce their overall risk level.
Investors turn to Fidelity Investments as they excel in the area of research. Investors know they can easily find all of the information they want and need in one location when they make use of this broker. The information is both broad and in depth, and some have even accused the company of going overboard in this area. Fidelity makes use of Morningstar for this purpose, and this company provides the ratings and key data for Fidelity. Actually, some stocks come complete with multiple reports, in some cases 12 or more. Individuals find this to be very helpful, along with the customized graphs, quotes, charts, and automated trading.
The major drawback to making use of Fidelity Investments and their services lies in the layout of the site. Investors frequently complain about how difficult it is to move through the site, although improvements have been made, especially in the research area. More needs to be done, but those looking for research discover they can find the reports they want and need without difficulty. Thankfully, the site offers a search box, enabling an investor to enter the desired search term and find the information they desire quickly.
Customer service continues to be another area where Fidelity distinguishes itself from other brokers. The service remains of the highest quality, no matter which contact option one uses, and three options are offered: live chat, email, and telephone. Fidelity maintains a number of brick and mortar locations also, allowing investors to sit face to face with an advisor or attend seminars. Moreover, the site contains a number of resources for investors with questions, such as a virtual tour of the site, an FAQs page, and documentation.
The company breaks educational resources up into various categories, to making finding what one needs easier. The content is divided into category, content type, and experience level. Select from infographics, educational courses, webinars, videos, and articles, depending on the preferred learning type. Courses help to organize videos and articles into a step by step program, one that tracks the investor’s progress, allowing an individual to leave and return at a later time without losing his or her place.
Mobile Trading Capability
Fidelity provides a mobile application for all major devices, allowing investors to trade while on the go, and individuals who tested the iPhone app found it free of bugs and extremely easy to use. Banking services have been incorporated into the application, and the apps come with home screen cards which may be customized. This allows the client to see his or her products immediately after logging in to the app. Unfortunately, at this time, complex option orders cannot be completed on the app, and customizations and charting depth are lacking. Active traders may find this to be an issue.
Platforms and Tools
Like many competitors, Fidelity Investments offers multiple platforms, two of which are desktop-based and one web-based option. The desktop-based platforms are Active Trader Pro, the flagship platform, and Wealth-Lab Pro. Individuals who make use of Active Trader Pro find they may choose between the web or desktop version, yet individuals must make a minimum of 36 qualified trades in a rolling twelve month period to obtain access to this platform. Individuals wishing to take advantage of Elliott Wave and Recognia analysis must make a minimum of 120 trades.
Unfortunately, investors feel Active Trader Pro cannot compete with the platforms offered by TradeStation and TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim. However, most clients find the platforms offered through Fidelity adequately meet their needs. In addition, Fidelity offers services to complement these platforms.
Active Trader Services provides investors with personalized support and dedicated trading specialists, yet come with steep requirements to access them. An investor not only need to make a minimum of 120 trades within a 12 month rolling period, they must also maintain a minimum of $25,000 in assets across all of their eligible Fidelity Investment accounts.
Fidelity Investments in Phoenix, AZ delivers a great deal for investors of every skill and experience level. This highly respected broker continues to compete with the larger brands, doing so with ease. Their success comes from their research offerings and specialty services and many believe they will continue to be an industry leader for years to come. Every investor should be sure to check this company out to determine if it is the right choice for their unique investment needs.