Fidelity Investments Review – Global Broker Option For All Traders

Fidelity Investments Review
  • Commissions
  • Mobile Platform
  • Desktop Platform
  • Executions
  • Research
  • Short Lists
3.9

Summary

Fidelity Investments started in 1946 and has grown steadily, holding over $6 trillion in customer assets, making the company one of the largest discount brokers in the world. Is it a viable option for you and your investments? Read on for our Fidelity Investments Review.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments started in 1946 as Fidelity Management & Research Company. In 1965, the firm purchased its first computer and in 1995 it launched its first website. The broker has grown steadily from decade to decade and now holds over $6 trillion in customer assets, making the company one of the largest discount brokers in the world. Read on for our Fidelity Investments Review.

Pricing

Commissions

Stock and ETF transactions cost $4.95 at Fidelity. This is the only commission schedule the broker offers, and there are no discounts for active traders. The company does offer 91 exchange-traded funds commission-free. This list is composed of iShares and Fidelity products. Placing a trade over the company’s automated phone system tacks on an extra $8, while using a live representative costs an extra $28.

Options

Derivatives at Fidelity cost an extra 65¢ per contract. Like equities, there are no discounts for high-volume accounts, nor are there any alternative pricing schedules.

Account Requirements

Fidelity requires a $2,500 deposit to open a securities account. There are no on-going fees, such as annual, inactivity, or low-balance charges. This is in contrast to a broker like TD Ameritrade or Robinhood, who have no minimum deposit.

Software fees

Although Fidelity used to impose requirements on its desktop software, the brokerage firm no longer maintains any fees or trading minimums to use any of its trading tools. This policy is very generous, as the broker has a lot of great technology, as we shall see. They position themselves on top of the industry alongside TD Ameritrade when it comes to software, in contrast to a broker like SogoTrade, who requires a $100,000 minimum account size to use their platform, SogoElite.

Margin and leverage

Fidelity currently charges 8.825% for a loan under $25,000. Its cheapest rate is 4.5% for debits over a million dollars. To purchase a stock on margin, the brokerage house requires the normal 50%. Maintenance requirements vary by account.

Trading Platforms

Website

The Fidelity website has a simple trading ticket that expands into the left-hand side of the screen after you click on a trade button. I found the tool to be less useful than the trade bars that Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade offer. Fidelity’s can’t display a chart, for example, and it doesn’t sit at the bottom of the browsing window full time.

Fidelity Trade Ticket

I was much more impressed with the website’s charting tools. A graph can be shown the width of the monitor, and there are several technical indicators available. Company events, such as dividends and splits, can be overlaid. A stock’s price history can be compared to another security, and there are six different graph styles. 

While the charts are stronger than average, a more advanced trader may be better equipped with a charting platform like TradingView.

Fidelity Charting

Active Trader Pro Platform

Active Trader Pro is Fidelity’s flagship trading software. It no longer has any account requirements, which is a big plus for infrequent traders. There are several important features this program offers. Option chains including strategies are displayed in a discrete window. News articles are available along with live streaming of Bloomberg in HD.

I thought the program’s graphs were very good while going through the Fidelity Investments Review. Comparisons and company events can be shown, and a graph can be saved, exported, or printed. One unique feature that I enjoyed was the software’s ability to show what a technical study looks like on a graph before selecting it. I just had to hover my cursor over the name of the indicator, and it would display temporarily on the chart.

Fidelity Active Trader Pro

Mobile Trading

Fidelity offers a mobile app that functions on Apple, Android, and Amazon devices. Amazon’s software includes skills for Echo and Echo Show. The tablet and phone app displays lots of information, including global indices and market news. Bill pay, funds transfer, and check deposit are all available. Mutual funds can be traded on the app, a service that not all brokers offer. Charting is sophisticated for a mobile platform, and option chains allow derivative trading.

Fidelity Mobile

Research Tools

The best security research tools will be found on the brokerage firm’s website. A stock screener is able to scan the equity markets based on all sorts of criteria. An equity’s profile page displays countless information. What I found most helpful was the ability to download third-party reports free of charge.

Customer Service

A Fidelity associate can be reached over the phone or through on-line chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The brokerage firm also offers internal messaging and several brick-and-mortar locations throughout the United States.

This policy is quite generous in contrast to a broker like TradeStation‘s customer service.

Executions and Routes

Fidelity provides direct-access routing only on Active Trader Pro. The platform displays depth of market data, sales and time data, and where orders are collecting among exchanges and ECN’s. The default selection is AUTO. Choosing this option gives Fidelity the ability to decide where the order is sent. Specific venues include NYSE ARCA, NYHY, and SDOT. Fidelity Dynamic Liquidity Management can also be selected; it provides access to dark pools.

Shorting Stocks

Fidelity clients with a margin account can take short positions on U.S. equities. Stocks that are hard-to-borrow have higher interest rates. The broker displays the number of shortable shares a stock has next to the quantity field after the stock’s ticker symbol has been entered on the broker’s trading ticket.

Type of Trader Fidelity is Best For

Traders who need extra guidance will benefit from Fidelity’s large library of instructional materials and good customer service. Mutual fund investors and bond traders will also do very well here. High-volume traders, however, will find better values elsewhere. Fidelity also offers financial advice and portfolio management services, both in traditional and robo formats. 

Pros…

  • Large selection of financial services, including annuities, education savings plans, life insurance, wealth management, and retirement accounts.
  • Fidelity’s robo-advisory service costs only 35 basis points per year.
  • Our Fidelity Investments Review found that this is one of the few brokers to offer an app for Apple TV.
  • Fidelity has an excellent cash management account that comes with free checks and a Visa debit card.
  • Large supply of mutual funds.

…and Cons

  • Active Trader Pro isn’t quite as good as TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim.
  • Unlike TradeStation, Fidelity doesn’t have a simple browser-based platform.
  • Forex and futures trading is not available as I found in the Fidelity Investments Review, a service that Interactive Brokers does offer.
  • I was on hold for several minutes during a test call to customer service during pre-market hours on a Friday morning.

Judgment

Fidelity traders have a lot of resources at low cost. Nevertheless, high-volume traders will find better values at TradeStation and Interactive Brokers. Thanks for reading our Fidelity Investments Review!

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