That said, derivatives traders, especially those who trade futures and futures options, are one of the few groups of investors who won’t find a home at Fidelity. There are tools for options traders, but competing platforms do a better job of helping find trading opportunities. In a couple of spots, there are still awkward transitions between certain features, such as screeners, and the trading experience. For the average investor, however, Fidelity makes a strong case for being the online brokerage of choice with its deep feature set and commitment to making and saving you money.
If you’ve been buying into a particular stock over time, you can select the tax lot when closing part of the position, or set an account-wide default for the tax lot choice (such as average cost, last-in-first-out, etc. ). You can also set an account-wide default for dividend reinvestment. The firm has addressed the challenge of having the tools for traders while still having an easy experience for basic investors by essentially splitting its offering into two platforms. Initial account opening with Fidelity is simple, especially if you’re adding an account to an existing household. However, adding on account features such as options trading or margin involves filling out an additional application, and none of that data is copied from your profile, so you have to enter it again. Uninvested cash is automatically swept into a money market fund, and then pulled out and made available for trading when necessary.
Most other brokers require the customer to manually move cash into a money market fund. Deep pool of research and education for investors to draw on and asset screeners to help narrow down investing choices. Increased focus on execution quality and cash management help clients improve investing returns. Fidelity has long earned high marks for customer service, and the company offers in-person guidance and free investor seminars at branch locations throughout the country. Seminars cover such topics as how to navigate the company’s website, when to take Social Security, and the basics of technical analysis. Online, Fidelity’s learning center offers guides and webinars on a similar range of issues. This number of research firm offerings might seem like too much to wade through, but investors can take a short quiz to identify providers that match their investment style.
If you don’t know what you’re paying, you can’t determine its value. Many investors think they’re invested one way, only to find out they’re not. We give you the tools to make smart asset allocation decisions. Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels.
Fixed-income investors can use the bond screener to winnow down the nearly 120, 000 secondary market offerings available by a variety of criteria, and can build a bond ladder. The yield table updates every 15 minutes based on live data. This scanner is flexible, but the layout is not at all inviting. Dividend reinvestment is set at the account level for all dividend-paying stocks. Fidelity also shares the revenue it generates from its stock loan program, and allows clients to choose which stocks in their portfolios can be loaned out.
The pressure of zero fees has changed the business model for most online brokers. In lieu of fees, the way brokers make money from you is less obvious—as are some of the subtle ways they make money for you.