• Great research and education resources
• Local branches offering free seminars
• Flat-rate commissions
• Mobile app for trading
• Minimum account balance to use top features
• No virtual trading tool
With a simple commission structure and a good level of research and education resources, Fidelity suits beginner traders. The comprehensive trading tools for traders with a larger balance suit more experienced traders. The good standard of customer support at Fidelity is useful for everyone.
Most definitely a recognized name in the broker world, Fidelity is one of the largest brokers and a trusted name. Fidelity is a full service provider offering a range of products including options trading and stocks. Does the Fidelity name mean they’re the brokers for you? We looked at the features and tools, plus research and education, included with the Fidelity service to see where Fidelity scores points.
The Fidelity trading tools are not the most comprehensive or interesting out of those available on the market today. In fact, you need to maintain an account balance of $25,000 and make 120 trades a year in order to make use of the Fidelity active trading software – something that other brokers offer as part of their main package, with no minimum spend required. Those without a high balance can use a basket trading system to monitor and manage up to 50 stocks, use bond ladders to invest in multiple bonds, create watch lists, and set up and test strategies before acting on them.
The advanced trading tools include streaming quotes, directed trading, portfolio management tools, customization and short cuts, useful charts with event recognition and tabbed views, a range of filters to help you track movers and keep an eye on highs and lows, fast order entry, and a fully customizable platform - which are not available with the main package.
Commissions & fees
The commission system is simple and streamlined - $7.95 per online US equity trade and $7.95 per online option trade. The flat-fee system makes it extremely easy to understand where your money is going. Trading for mutual funds is relatively high, at $75 compared to its closest competitors. A minimum account balance applies and you must have a certain amount in your account in order to use the majority of the Fidelity trading tools.
While the Fidelity platform is not packed with features, there are some that traders will appreciate. You can get an immediate update on the status of your orders directly to your email or your mobile device, which is useful for keeping track of things on the move. Also useful is the one second execution guarantee. Access free research reports on thousands of stocks, and trade using the basic trading tools or the active trading platform for high balance holders and active traders.
You can manage your Fidelity trades on your mobile (iPad, iPhone or Android) and trade from your mobile, as well as look at the research documents and view quotes and charts in real time. The mobile app is pretty essential nowadays when so many transactions and activities take place on the move. The mobile app also helpfully integrates all banking products into one, so you can check your entire portfolio from one place.
Ease of Use
Navigating the Fidelity website is often a confusing experience. It is difficult to understand what products are on offer and a large amount of small print makes it hard to figure out what exactly the package provides. Because the Fidelity trading pages are mixed up with all the other Fidelity products it is tricky to find out where exactly you need to go for the trading platform and further information. The whole thing is not particularly well organized, which lets the product down, although the research areas are better laid out and more intuitive.
The level of research and educational resources is much better than ease of use. Fidelity provides a solid range of independent research as well as in-depth market analysis. You can streamline search results in the support section by creating a system of different weightings and custom filters that give you a personalized set of results. Up-to-date news helps you make informed decisions in real time. The support section is much easier to navigate than the rest of the website and you can search articles by topic, or by looking at the selection of courses that are compiled from a number of different lessons. In addition, Fidelity offers free classes and seminars on a range of topics. Call if you have a query, or instant message the support team.
Fidelity is suitable for investors and traders who will sacrifice trading tools for in-depth research, or for high-value traders who are active traders all year. Active traders will find much to interest them in the Fidelity package, while beginners who only make a few trades a year, or who want a virtual trading platform, may be disappointed. The website as a whole is not particularly easy to navigate but the research and education area is better. If you are looking for an active trading platform you could try Fidelity, otherwise the tools are limited.
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