Fidelity, also known as Fidelity Brokerage Company, Fidelity eBusiness, Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Company, Fidelity Investments Human Resources, Fidelity Management and Research Company and Fidelity Technology Group, was founded in 1977 by Edward C. Johnson the 2nd, is currently headquartered in Boston, MA and is now under the leadership of Abigail P. Johnson, chief executive officer of FMR LLC, Fidelity's parent company. Abigail is the third generation to lead this privately owned company.
- Experienced specialists
- Trading education
Fidelity has 24 million individual customers, $5.2 trillion in total customer assets at Fidelity and $2.1 trillion in global assets under management. Fidelity currently has 10 regional offices and more than 180 investor centers in the United States. They also have over 40,000 associates and their global presence covers eight countries across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Additionally, Fidelity was awarded the #1 online broker by Investor's Business Daily for their research tools and ETF choices, among other things. They were also awarded Kiplinger's 2014 Winner Best of The Online Brokers. So they must be doing something right. Other benefits include:
Fidelity has experienced investment and trading specialists available 24-7. That means whenever you have a question or an issue, or just need a little advice, all you have to do is contact them. This is great for investors who are only able to do their investing at times other than normal business hours.
Fidelity offers plenty of educational resources online and offline, as well as helpful retirement features. They have a learning center, calculators and tools, local branch seminars, investment guidance, retirement planning, wealth management, estate planning and inheritance, taxes, saving for college, charitable giving, life insurance, long-term care and more.
Fidelity offers some very competitive rates, such as stocks at $7.95, ETFs both commission free and $7.95 online commission for U.S. equities, options at $7.95 per online trade and 75¢ per contract and bonds at $1 per bond trade.
Fidelity also offers a wide variety of investment products, such as mutual funds, retirement and IRAs, trading, stocks, fixed income and bonds, ETFs, options, sector investing, plenty of cash management, help with managed accounts, help with a 529 college savings account, annuities, life insurance and they also offer long term care advice as well. Fidelity provides their customers with plenty of calculators and tools to help them be as successful as possible.
While there are a number of useful and practical tools and resources offered through the Fidelity platform, there are number of limitations as well. Prospective clients should be aware of the following drawbacks prior to enrolling in the service:
Fidelity doesn't have any actions involving their marketplace conduct, nor do they have any reports of using any type of deceptive advertising practices. You do have to remember though that Fidelity is a huge global company; therefore, you have to think about these numbers in the proper perspective. Unfortunately, Fidelity has a minimum required account balance of $2,500, which is a potential drawback that might keep newer investors away, unless they have the upfront money to put down.
The Fidelity website is extremely hard to use, at least from a visitor's standpoint. The navigation is OK; however, if it was more specific that would be better. Additionally, there is so much information that it's easy to get information overload, aside from the fact that you have to click around to many different pages to get the information you need.