Fidelity Investments review: A reputable option for just about any type of investor – CNBC

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Fidelity is a household name in the investing world for beginner and advanced investors alike.

In fact, it’s likely you’ve come across a Fidelity study or two while perusing your normal business news, especially on retirement: The broker provides a popular benchmark for how much you need to retire, but its well known for a quite a few reasons.

Fidelity Investments offers financial advice, retirement plans, wealth management, trading and brokerage services. Users can take advantage of commission-free trading on many types of securities, zero expense ratio index funds, low margin rates, tax-advantaged IRA accounts, managed portfolios, extensive tools and industry-leading, in-depth research from 20-plus independent providers.

Below, Select reviews Fidelity Investments’ offerings to give you the details on the investment options, features and fees so you can decide if it’s right for your needs.

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Fidelity Investments review

Fidelity Investments

Information about Fidelity Investments has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Fidelity Investments prior to publication.

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open a Fidelity Go account, but minimum $10 balance for robo-advisor to start investing. Minimum $25,000 balance for Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Zero commission fees for stock, ETF, options trades and some mutual funds; zero transaction fees for over 3,400 mutual funds; $0.65 per options contract. Fidelity Go is free for balances under $10,000 (after, $3 per month for balances between $10,000 and $49,999; 0.35% for balances over $50,000). Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice has a 0.50% advisory fee

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, options and fractional shares

  • Educational resources

    Extensive tools and industry-leading, in-depth research from 20-plus independent providers

Pros

  • No commission fees for stock, ETF, options trades
  • No transaction fees for over 3,400 mutual funds
  • Robo-advisor Fidelity Go (free for balances under $10,000)
  • Hybrid robo service Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice
  • Limited-time $100 offer
  • Abundant educational tools and resources
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Over 100 brick-and-mortar branches across the U.S. for face-to-face support

Cons

  • Fidelity Go fee is $3 per month for balances between $10,000 and $49,999; 0.35% for balances over $50,000
  • Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice requires $25,000 minimum balance and has a 0.50% advisory fee
  • Some of Fidelity’s mutual funds require reaching specific thresholds
  • Reports of platform outages during heavy trading days

Investment options

Fidelity Investments charges no commissions for trading stocks, ETFs, options and some mutual funds. Fidelity also offers CDs, bonds and fractional shares (called Stocks by the Slice℠), but not forex and futures trading. And, if you want to get a head start on saving for your child’s college education, you can do so through Fidelity’s 529 college savings plans.

Less active traders can use its robo-advisor option called Fidelity Go®, where Fidelity will suggest a mix of investments to help keep your savings goal on track. You will also receive monthly progress updates via email that show the investing activity in your account. Fidelity Go accounts invest in zero expense ratio Fidelity Flex® mutual funds that do not charge management fees or, with limited exceptions, fund expenses.

And when you’re in need of specific financial advice, you can opt for the hybrid robo-advisor service, Fidelity® Personalized Planning & Advice. In addition to automated investment management, your hybrid account also comes with unlimited one-on-one coaching calls from a team of Fidelity advisors.

Fidelity Go and the hybrid product both charge advisory fees, see ‘Fees’ section for more information.

Fidelity helps you save for retirement with its traditional, Roth and Rollover IRAs. It also offers a Fidelity HSA®, or health savings account, where you can pay for qualified medical expenses in a tax-advantaged way through retirement.

Features

Index funds are one of the easiest ways to invest, and Fidelity makes it even more affordable than usual to buy these assets. The broker offers the following index funds that have zero expense ratios (on top of no commission fees): the Fidelity ZERO℠ Total Market Index Fund, the Fidelity ZERO℠ International Index Fund, the Fidelity ZERO℠ Large Cap Index Fund and the Fidelity ZERO℠ Extended Market Index Fund. Fidelity also stands out for offering plenty of low expense ratio choices and thousands of mutual funds with no transaction fees.

Fidelity’s research is more than sufficient from third-party providers such as Thomson Reuters, Ned Davis Research and Recognia. Its educational resources include tools and calculators, such as:

  • Fidelity Retirement Score℠: See how you’re tracking against your retirement goals with a tool that provides your retirement score in just 60 seconds when you answer six simple questions.
  • Trade Armor®: Manage entry and exit trading strategies using 10 pieces of information with this tool.
  • Fidelity Estate Planner®: Access an online service that guides you through the estate planning process and helps you identify an attorney.
  • Fidelity Five Money Musts: Learn about managing money in the real world with this online game.

At the time this article was written, new users can also take advantage of a limited-time $100 offer when they open and fund an eligible account with the promo code: FIDELITY100.

Fidelity’s customer service is available 24/7 via email, phone or live chat, and you can even meet with a representative at any of Fidelity’s in-person locations at over 100 brick-and-mortar branches across the U.S.

It’s easy to manage your Fidelity investments on the go. The Fidelity Investments app is available to download for free in both the App Store (for iOS), where it has 4.8/5 stars (and almost 2 million reviews), and on Google Play (for Android), where it has 4.4/5 stars at the time this article was written.‎

Fees

Minimum deposit and balance requirements vary depending on the Fidelity account you select.

While there is no minimum required to open a Fidelity Go account, your account balance must be at least $10 in order for Fidelity to get to work investing your money. The robo-advisor is free for balances under $10,000 (after, $3 per month for balances between $10,000 and $49,999; 0.35% for balances over $50,000).

The hybrid robo service, Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice, requires a $25,000 minimum balance to get started. There is also a 0.50% annual advisory fee, which Fidelity estimates the total cost to come out to $10.42 per month for a $25,000 balance.

Zero-commission trades can be made with stocks, ETFs, options and some mutual funds. There are no transaction fees for over 3,400 mutual funds, but keep in mind that some of Fidelity’s mutual funds may require reaching specific funding thresholds. There is a $0.65 per options contract fee. Additional fees and minimums may apply for other securities.

Bottom line

Fidelity Investments is an all-around winner for offering almost anything an investor would need. The brokerage especially appeals to us for its abundant educational tools and resources that provide insights and analysis that can help investors’ trading strategies. Fidelity’s index funds with zero expense ratios are also a nice perk for newbies who are looking for an easy, low-risk and affordable way to invest in the market.

Those who get overwhelmed by investing options may want to start first with a simple, straightforward robo-advisor such as Betterment. The Betterment Portfolio is made up of low-cost, diversified ETFs, which is key to managing risk when you invest in the market. Plus, Betterment charges no minimums and a low annual account fee. Read our full Betterment review.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.