Fidelity Advisor

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Fidelity Advisor

Postby Intheheadlights » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:28 pm

Hello everyone: my first post. I plan on more posts soon, because I'm kinda frozen investment decision wise, and I need help. Hence my username...
I retired from the University of California ten years ago, and my late first wife and I (also a UC employee) put a lot into UC's voluntary retirement savings programs. UC has its own low expense ratio funds which we took full advantage of. We diversified, and we lived far below our means. Much of my after-tax money is with Vanguard. I guess I was a Boglehead before I knew what one was.

Several years ago UC transferred accounting and record keeping services for its voluntary retirement programs to Fidelity, and gave us access to Fidelity's funds (plus a couple from VG and DFA; can't remember which ones). However, UC kept administrative responsibility and kept its own funds in operation. I also have my IRA's with Fidelity. A couple of years ago I was contacted by a Fidelity representative. Her title was "Senior Account Executive", whatever that means. She proposed a portfolio review. I accepted the offer, and I was very impressed with her knowledge. She said that this service was free and that I could meet with her cost-free in the future. I have a lot of investments outside of Fidelity, and it's obvious that she is pushing me---albeit very gently---to consolidate everything under Fidelity. However, several of the funds she suggested were non-Fidelity, and the expense ratios were quasi-reasonable. She said good things about Vanguard and pointed out that if I moved my Vanguard account to Fidelity the Vanguard funds could be moved under their wing free of cost. There would be a fee for additional VG fund purchases, but it is very low.

Although I had a career in scientific research, I'm seventy, and not as quick as I used to be. I desperately need to simplify! Fidelity is attractive because they already have all my retirement funds, and because I prefer in-person interactions. After all this long winded stuff, my questions: 1. Are there any major downsides to using
Fidelity rather than Vanguard? From reading several other threads on here I don't see any. 2. What hidden agendas might my Fidelity person have? In a way her vast knowledge and her free help seem too good to be true.

Finally, thanks guys for this wonderful forum! I have some funds with a full service broker. He's a good, very honest guy, and I like him a lot. He even told me that I was knowledgeable enough that I might not need his services. I have spent several months reading posts here, and I have learned a lot about expense rations, loads, etc. I think he is now correct! I need to get started on your Wiki.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Mudpuppy » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:47 am

Keep in mind my specialty is computer security, so I am inherently distrustful, but I would be concerned that the advisor's angle on this is that you will blindly let her direct your portfolio without independently verifying the worthiness of her selections. These advisors seem to have a sixth sense about detecting people who are hesitant about managing their retirement investments on their own and are very adept at manipulating people. Now, I could just be paranoid and she could be on the up-and-up, but I would approach cautiously.

And Fidelity does have several decent options, particularly in their Spartan index fund line, that rival what Vanguard has to offer. On the flip side, there are some outrageously expensive Fidelity funds. So you can't blindly assume a Fidelity fund is decent. You have to research the fund. You also have to carefully read the account terms and conditions to be sure you don't get nickel-and-dimed by fees.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby SGM » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:58 am

I have received unwelcome cold calls from Fidelity advisors in the past. Anyone in finance who starts a conversation with "Tell me about yourself," is highly suspect in my mind. Also several years ago one tried to get me involved in a guaranteed investment with a low downside and limited up side. I believe it was a variable annuity. I do not return phone calls from what I consider to be sales people.


Maybe you could simplify with a 3 fund portfolio. I know as one gets older it is important to put more of this on auto-pilot. Fidelity has a few funds with very low expense ratios. Maybe someone could advise you about your specific portfolio on this site. Certainly, if I was going to act on what a fidelity advisor said I would run it by this forum.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby livesoft » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:21 am

Intheheadlights wrote:... my questions: 1. Are there any major downsides to using Fidelity rather than Vanguard? From reading several other threads on here I don't see any.

I don't see any major downsides. Vanguard is well-known for some of the best bond mutual funds which one would probably not be using if one had their money at Fidelity. One should be able to duplicate a passively-managed low-expense ratio index fund portfolio at Fidelity very easily. However, I doubt that such a portfolio is what the advisor has in mind as that is not the Fidelity philosophy as a company.

2. What hidden agendas might my Fidelity person have? In a way her vast knowledge and her free help seem too good to be true.

I don't see any hidden agenda: This person wants to make money for herself and her company off of you. There is nothing wrong with that. Her service is not free. You probably should ask her directly how she gets paid.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby dbonnett » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:36 am

Many have great knowledge but no skill.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby johnep » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:11 am

I have accounts with both Vanguard and Fidelity. I have access with Fidelity account advisers and have taken advantage of it several times. I, like you, draw some comfort in face to face meetings with advisers and you cannot get that at Vanguard. The advisers always have a soft sell of Fidelity products but provide good general advice about your portfolio, investments and the market. Most of my investments in Fidelity are either TIPS, Vanguard ETFs and a few equity and bond funds. Only a couple are Fidelity funds.

Fidelity also has other good resources. I have used their bond desk for advice and assistance several times. They can provide good advice on the bond market. You can also get free financial plans which I have found to be useful. IMHO, Fidelity's service and website are equal or better than Vanguard.

There would be small added costs to own and trade Vanguard funds at Fidelity, but if these are limited and you are more in a distribution mode, this should be minimal.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby exoilman » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:29 am

I too have a good experience with Fidelity. I use Fidelity for our taxable account which is mostly individual stocks. All of our fixed income is with Vanguard and also TSM and Wellesley all tax deferred. Our Fidelity rep. knows of our Vanguard assets and we manage accordingly (rebalance etc.). I do this so my wife can better manage when I pass. I don't mind at all if he makes some commissions with some Fidelity funds. We use a local office by us when we think a face to face session is beneficial, at most twice a year.

regards
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby SpringMan » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:47 am

Fidelity offered to do a comprehensive free portfolio review prior to my retirement back in 2005. They spent several hours on the telephone with us. They ran software that showed us we could live to 93 years old without running out of money. Their recommendations were actively managed funds, both Fidelity and NTF (no transaction fee) funds. I was impressed with their effort and the amount of time they spent with us. We set up our portfolio with many of their recommendations. However, after a year or so we started to drift back to more Boglehead like portfolios using Spartan funds. We transferred the lion's share of our money to Vanguard. Our overall expense ratio went from over 1% down to .14%. Some of that drop was because my wife was able to rollover her bad 401k to Vanguard. We did keep our Roth IRAs and a joint taxable account at Fidelity invested in Spartan funds and ETFs. I think Fidelity really believes in active management, maybe because of fondness for the Peter Lynch days or more likely because it generates more revenue. The bloated Contra fund does still perform but the expense ratio is just too rich for my blood.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby JW Nearly Retired » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:39 am

Intheheadlights wrote: Several years ago UC transferred accounting and record keeping services for its voluntary retirement programs to Fidelity, and gave us access to Fidelity's funds (plus a couple from VG and DFA; can't remember which ones). However, UC kept administrative responsibility and kept its own funds in operation. I also have my IRA's with Fidelity. A couple of years ago I was contacted by a Fidelity representative. Her title was "Senior Account Executive", whatever that means. She proposed a portfolio review. I accepted the offer, and I was very impressed with her knowledge. She said that this service was free and that I could meet with her cost-free in the future. I have a lot of investments outside of Fidelity, and it's obvious that she is pushing me---albeit very gently---to consolidate everything under Fidelity. However, several of the funds she suggested were non-Fidelity, and the expense ratios were quasi-reasonable. She said good things about Vanguard and pointed out that if I moved my Vanguard account to Fidelity the Vanguard funds could be moved under their wing free of cost. There would be a fee for additional VG fund purchases, but it is very low.

I like Fidelity and have the lion's share of my non-401k investments with them, Vanguard has the rest. That said, I would not pay the slightest attention to Fidelity phone advice on investment choices, especially growing out of a cold call. The objective of these calls is getting a higher percentage of your investement return flowing into company pockets. If the sales staff didn't do that they couldn't exist. You would be much better off getting your investment advice from parties without a conflict of interest. Like us.

I stick to just the Fido Spartan Index funds (with one tax-driven legacy exception from 25 years ago). These are as low cost as anything VG has.
good luck,
JW

ps: IMO, "Senior Account Executive", means the 1st step up from the bottom of the phone sales staff.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby nisiprius » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:23 am

I liked Fidelity. And my experiences with their 401(k) "retirement seminar" presenters, and with the people in their retirement group who conducted "retirement checkups," was good. That's not an unquestioning endorsement, I'm just saying they weren't sleazebags and as far as I could tell everything they said was factually true.

The "retirement checkup" people had CFP after their names on their business cards. Ask your rep if she's a CFP or what other credentials she might have. I'm not sure how much it matters, but it's something to know.

I would not automatically trust Fidelity or automatically follow their suggestions.

I'm skeptical about the fees for additional purchases of Vanguard funds transferred to Fidelity is "very small." Double-check this. Last time I checked, it was $70 to add to a Vanguard fund, $5 each for automatic periodic purchases, and no fee to sell.

I feel that between the Fidelity Spartan funds, and their no-fee iShares ETFs, it's not at all clear whether Vanguard is any better than Fidelity in terms of Boglehead-style investment costs and choices. I think it is, a little, but the difference is so small that it could easily be outweighed by anything at all, convenience, personal preference, Fidelity's storefronts, etc.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby livesoft » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:27 pm

I wonder if Fidelity has a business model of at least capturing assets no matter what they end up being invested in. One reason is the penchant for heirs to leave things in the place where the deceased had them. So if they capture substantial assets of the elderly, then they may get 2 to 3 new customers when those clients die.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Random Musings » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:14 pm

Intheheadlights wrote: and my late first wife and I (also a UC employee) put a lot into UC's voluntary retirement savings programs. UC has its own low expense ratio funds which we took full advantage of. We diversified, and we lived far below our means. Much of my after-tax money is with Vanguard. I guess I was a Boglehead before I knew what one was.

... I have a lot of investments outside of Fidelity, and it's obvious that she is pushing me---albeit very gently---to consolidate everything under Fidelity. However, several of the funds she suggested were non-Fidelity, and the expense ratios were quasi-reasonable. She said good things about Vanguard and pointed out that if I moved my Vanguard account to Fidelity the Vanguard funds could be moved under their wing free of cost. There would be a fee for additional VG fund purchases, but it is very low.

I desperately need to simplify! Fidelity is attractive because they already have all my retirement funds, and because I prefer in-person interactions. After all this long winded stuff, my questions: 1. Are there any major downsides to using Fidelity rather than Vanguard? From reading several other threads on here I don't see any. 2. What hidden agendas might my Fidelity person have? In a way her vast knowledge and her free help seem too good to be true.

.... I have some funds with a full service broker. He's a good, very honest guy, and I like him a lot. He even told me that I was knowledgeable enough that I might not need his services. I have spent several months reading posts here, and I have learned a lot about expense rations, loads, etc. I think he is now correct! I need to get started on your Wiki.


So, you want to consolidate and simplify. Obviously, you can roll-out of the full-service broker, but to where?

The question is, if you truly need professional hand holding, do you want to utilize this Fidelity representative long-term or do you want to utilize a ethical, low-cost advisor that would follow a Boglehead approach (since you are a Boglehead)? I believe the latter choice suits you, as the Fidelity choice will be pulling you away from what you have done and learned. You may be consolidating your portfolio holdings to Fidelity, but it sounds like the portfolio won't be simplified.

RM
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Intheheadlights » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:50 pm

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies. Much to think about, but a lot of what has been said confirms my own view of Fidelity. I see them
as a huge, fairly straight organization with an order-of-magnitude too many funds: lot of good funds and a lot of bad ones---curious how their ads always tout the good ones; e.g., Contra. How come they don't talk about Magellan anymore? I have owned a little for 20+ years, unfortunately. My situation is much more complicated than I described in my firstpost. A lot of life has happened to me: A wife who was sick for nine years before passing, a child with medical problems which may keep her from full-time work,two irrevocable trusts, consulting jobs, inheritances, remarriage, etc. etc. I should have qualified that I was Boglehead-like in an earlier life, but in the last decade plus I have been in a reactive get through the day mode. I now look at my very complicated holdings and wonder "how the heck did I do this to myself?" I knew better…

Specific replies:

Mudpuppy: I tend to be distrustful also. Hence the questions in my post. Thanks for the Spartan comments. Found out that UC has cut a deal with Fidelity that
makes them even cheaper for UC 403b's.

SGM: I never got cold calls from Fidelity. Cold letters perhaps, but the two times I accepted invitations for retirement reviews (seven and three years ago) were very
informative and not at all self serving. In fact, the first guy spent a lot of time with me, ran the numbers, told me I was doing fine, laughed, and said his only advice was
to spend more money! He never did any follow-up with the goal of pushing me in Fidelity's direction. My plan is at some point to run my investments by this forum and ask for advice. Quasi-auto-pilot is the goal.

Livesoft: Bingo on capturing assets. That was exactly my impression; I should have mentioned it in my first post. No great pressure towards active funds---she even
said good things about Vanguard index funds---but definitely a push to put all funds under Fidelity's custody.

Exoilman: Neither wife nor child are financially sophisticated. Good point.

SpringMan: I was also impressed with my retirement review.

JW Nearly Retired: Should have added that Vice President was in the title as well. Is there anyone with a bank or a brokerage firm
above the level of teller or secretary who is not a veep?

Nisiprius: No CFP on the business card, but an insurance license number (gulp). She has a business degree from an Ivy-level university. I think I asked
for her credentials, she had some, but I forget what they were. I will not automatically trust Fidelity. The $70 number is the same I remember. Does not seem
like a lot to me. My sense is that the Fidelity Spartan stock incices are fine, but VG may have the advantage bond fund-wise.

Random Musings: Yes, in some ways Fidelity is not the best. However, they administer my UC voluntary retirement funds (403b and after-tax,) which are 1/3 of
my holdings and which for various financial and legal reasons I do not want to roll over to IRA's. I think (could be wrong) I need mostly administrative help---rather
than financial advice---and Fidelity seems to be a good choice in this area. Finally as I mentioned, I really need face-to-face interactions: just general
lack of comfort with telephone, mail and internet interactions, also my hearing is going. This is all frustrating to me, and I suspect that if I don't use Fidelity,
I won't move at all. But your point is well taken. I need to think for myself and resist a lot of expensive active stuff.

Thanks Everyone!
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Fidelity Advisor - hidden agenda

Postby dodonnell » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:36 pm

Fidelity Advisers get paid "bonus" to sell clients products.
In most cases, the majority of their compensation is "bonus".

In general, they get paid more money to sell more expensive products - in some cases 7 times as much as selling a CD or Money Market.

The "hidden agendas" are disclosed here:

Fidelity Representatives' Compensation Disclosure (PDF)
(search pdf for the word "basis" to get to the agendas)

Also, review this excellent post from brick-house in 2010 and note the payment rates on the most expensive products have gone from 5 basis points to 7.
viewtopic.php?p=756574#p756574

EDIT:
For some reason that link to the Fidelity site won't load:
If you have trouble ... pm me and i will email it to you.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Intheheadlights » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:22 pm

Thanks, very informative. Some of the experiences of the posters on the viewtopic you suggested are similar to mine. I asked "why are your services free to me and
how are you compensated?", and I had the sense I was being weasel-worded. I also got some fancy sounding "Private Client Group" or some such thing letters a few
times. One of the comments was how they seem to hit on people with large accounts that are rarely traded and are full of low-cost funds. I resemble that!
Also liked the comment on good services but wolf in sheep's clothing sales approach. Similar to my experience: very low key but still there.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby fishnskiguy » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:58 pm

Any company that advertises their "trading platform" on CNBC as does Fidelity will never get a dime of mine. Corporate culture runs deep and I don't care for Fidelity's one bit. It's suck-you-in-oh-so- slowly.

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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby dbr » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:43 am

There is absolutely nothing out of hand with holding an account at Fidelity or anywhere else and simply never speaking to anyone about advice, management, products, buying anything or whatever. The costs will be transaction costs, any account fee you get stuck with for something like sticking to paper reports, and the internal costs of whatever funds you choose to hold, which is your choice and not Fidelity's.

Now why anyone would actually get sucked into a conversation with an "account manager" at any broker or mutual fund company, including Vanguard, is absolutely beyond me.

I should add, by the way, that private client groups can be invaluable in those necessary situations where there is no recourse other than to have certain types of trusts and one needs a place to put the trust. These organizations do not necessarily subject customers to rip-off fees and costs considering some of the possible legal and fiduciary requirements that have to be met in the trust world. I have personal experience at the local MegaInvestBank private client trust management that I consider very positive and helped save a bad situation.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby retiredjg » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:22 pm

Welcome to the forum!

Sometimes, it is best to just step back and ask yourself "what problem am I trying to solve?" It seems your problem is complexity and you want to simplify your portfolio. You wonder if an advisor at either Fido or Vanguard would be helpful.

Well, the whole issue will require that you gather all your information together in one place in an intelligent manner and present it to someone for recommendations. You can do that here if you want. See the link at the bottom of this message. Even if you don't like the suggestions you get here, you will learn something about what you actually have and what you want to do just by going through the exercise. You are going to have to gather the info anyway so it is certainly not a waste of your time.

The only difference I know of between advisors at the two companies is that the Vanguard people apparently don't have any stake in what you decide to buy. I'm not sure that is true at Fidelity (but I simply don't know).

If you know what you should avoid (unneeded variable annuities, high expense ratio funds, loads, transaction fees) then it probably won't matter if an advisor has an agenda.

Take a good long look at the new lineup of Spartan Funds at Fidelity. In my opinion, any Fidelity portfolio that is not composed mostly (if not entirely) of these funds is probably suspect. This approach is so simple, though, you might find an advisor is not really necessary.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Ozonewanderer » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:21 pm

I have been with Fidelity a long time and have been extremely satisfied with their service. I have also had experience with Vanguard and found that their service was not as customer intimate. However Vanguard's expenses are generally lower across the board so you get what you pay for (or don't pay for).

The biggest problem with using Fidelity as my exclusive broker is that I have to pay a $75 transaction fee each time to purchase Vanguard funds. I believe that I also do not have access to Vanguard Admiral funds by purchasing through Fidelity.

If you are simply going to transfer your existing Vanguard funds to Fidelity, there should be no transaction fee or difference in expenses from holding them at Vanguard. In fact a way around the transaction fee and Admiral limitation is to purchase the funds at Vanguard then later ask to have them transferred to Fidelity.

I agree with you that life is easier by having all the funds in one place. There is an argument in favor of "broker diversity" in that having your money spread among more than one broker provides some additional safety in case anything happens at one of the companies, but the ease of administration and the quality of Fidelity's service has kept me put.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Ozonewanderer » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:33 pm

Intheheadlights wrote:Thanks, very informative. Some of the experiences of the posters on the viewtopic you suggested are similar to mine. I asked "why are your services free to me and
how are you compensated?", and I had the sense I was being weasel-worded. I also got some fancy sounding "Private Client Group" or some such thing letters a few
times. One of the comments was how they seem to hit on people with large accounts that are rarely traded and are full of low-cost funds. I resemble that!
Also liked the comment on good services but wolf in sheep's clothing sales approach. Similar to my experience: very low key but still there.

My experience with being a Private Client group member has been wonderful.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby matjen » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:51 pm

Another positive vote for Fidelity's Private Client Group. They have been very helpful (though usually it involves giving them more assets...so they should be) and they are convenient for me since their office is 2 blocks from mine. They have NEVER pushed anything on me. HOWEVER, I made it very clear to them my investing style and level of knowledge.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby SGM » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:13 pm

I received 3 cold calls from Fidelity in the last three years. One was a week ago and I was immediately asked "Tell me about yourself." I took a "charm school" course with a former employer about using open ended questions to funnel people for information, feelings, etc. Maybe I am a little defensive, but I know when someone is funneling me.

I think I used one of Fidelity's planning tool recently and I suspect they became aware that most of my assets are outside of Fidelity. I have a small 401k there, and I suspect that the most recent phone call was related to that information.

The phone calls from 2-3 years ago were definitely sale calls for a variable annuity with a guarantee. I have no interest in this type of investment or the associated expense.

I am glad to hear that others have had better experiences with Fidelity. I do not accept cold calls period. If I want to talk to someone about investments I will do that on my own. Their retirement people were helpful with the 401k although their information was not entirely accurate. That is okay, because I always double or triple check such information. I like that they have a few funds that have low ERs. Their computer interface is fine and the cost of stock trades is not too expensive.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby retiredjg » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:23 pm

SGM wrote:I think I used one of Fidelity's planning tool recently and I suspect they became aware that most of my assets are outside of Fidelity. I have a small 401k there, and I suspect that the most recent phone call was related to that information.

Remember when "big brother is watching you" meant the government? I don't think most people ever foresaw that "big brother" would actually mean corporations instead. :D
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby jginseattle » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:33 pm

I once went through the Fidelity portfolio review process. The advisor told me that Fidelity's managed International funds were superior to the Spartan International Index fund. What she didn't disclose is that the former contains emerging markets and the Spartan fund did not. She wasn't making a fair comparison. She was either being misleading or she didn't know what she was talking about.

If you stick with the Spartan funds Fidelity is fine, although due to the way it's structurd Vanguard is a much better company. However, I think it's very important to educate yourself and not rely on the Fidelity advisors. They're not experts, they're salespeople.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Timoneer » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:13 pm

My Fidelity advisor is identified as a VP, Senior Account Executive, CFP. I meet with him about once a year to review my portfolio and tell him my plan. He doesn't pressure me, only offers to assist if I were interested in other types of investments. I haven't really figured out how to use him. When I told him I was a Boglehead, I got a blank response and had to explain further.

But I like Fidelity's website and on-line tools. Their low ER Spartan funds meet my needs. When I call with a question, I get someone in their Private Client Group who is always knowledgable, friendly, and efficient.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby wjo » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:34 am

Hi -

Welcome to the forum! You have received some great advice here, but let me add just a few comments.

I completely understand your desire for simplicity - I have an aging aunt who, at 80, is finding it difficult to manage her investments. As part of this process, I think the decisions are not just what is the lowest cost way to invest, but also, who do you trust to give good advice 10 years from now?

In this context, can you possibly consolidate 100% with Vanguard? If your investments are tax sheltered and you are retired from UC, I would think this is possible. Vanguard was very helpful when we consolidated most of my Aunt's accounts a couple of years ago. Vanguard also has some really good fund-of-funds offerings that can put things almost on autopilot. More importantly, while Vanguard doesn't always give the best advice, I do trust their institutional structure to ensure that the people who work there are working with interest in mind.

Fidelity is not a bad shop, and I don't think they will do too badly by you, but outside of their Spartan offerings I am not a big fan. Their fund-of-fund offerings such as Target retirement are a lot more expensive than the comparable VG offerings. More importantly, it looks like Fidelity has been losing assets compared to Vanguard - I wonder at what point they will stop trying to compete with VG and start maximizing the money they make from existing customers? There is no guarantee that they won't start to raise fees across the board - there was an instance a couple of years back where Fidelity raised the expense of one of their Spartan funds, so there is precedent. Their associates also have mixed incentives and may try to steer you a few years from now into the wrong funds for you.

I suspect keeping your investments at UC and keeping/consolidating what you can with VG is the way to go. If you want some outside advice, have you considered finding a fee only financial planner? Not necessarily to manage your assets, but a one time consultation (with more engagement perhaps as needed). I would think you would have a number of good choices in your area and I am sure folks on this board could recommend some.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Boglenaut » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:01 am

There is a company the has a name like "Fidelity Advisor" (not sure of exact name) that sends a lot of spam and has nothing to do with Fidelity Investments. I'd avoid them.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby 2beachcombers » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:35 am

Timoneer wrote:My Fidelity advisor is identified as a VP, Senior Account Executive, CFP. I meet with him about once a year to review my portfolio and tell him my plan. He doesn't pressure me, only offers to assist if I were interested in other types of investments. I haven't really figured out how to use him. When I told him I was a Boglehead, I got a blank response and had to explain further.

But I like Fidelity's website and on-line tools. Their low ER Spartan funds meet my needs. When I call with a question, I get someone in their Private Client Group who is always knowledgable, friendly, and efficient.


+1

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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby Polaris » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:05 am

SGM wrote:I received 3 cold calls from Fidelity in the last three years. One was a week ago and I was immediately asked "Tell me about yourself." I took a "charm school" course with a former employer about using open ended questions to funnel people for information, feelings, etc. Maybe I am a little defensive, but I know when someone is funneling me.

I think I used one of Fidelity's planning tool recently and I suspect they became aware that most of my assets are outside of Fidelity. I have a small 401k there, and I suspect that the most recent phone call was related to that information.

The phone calls from 2-3 years ago were definitely sale calls for a variable annuity with a guarantee. I have no interest in this type of investment or the associated expense.

I am glad to hear that others have had better experiences with Fidelity. I do not accept cold calls period. If I want to talk to someone about investments I will do that on my own. Their retirement people were helpful with the 401k although their information was not entirely accurate. That is okay, because I always double or triple check such information. I like that they have a few funds that have low ERs. Their computer interface is fine and the cost of stock trades is not too expensive.


I pretty much could have written this myself, although I let the answering machine pick up when I don't recognize the phone number. :)

Four years ago I got a few phone calls and a followup letter from a Fidelity "Retirement Representative" about the small 401k I have at Fidelity regarding "options for your account" that I disregarded due to my extreme dislike of cold callers. Ironically, I received a voice message from a different Fido "Relationship Manager" on Wednesday who needs to speak with me "at your earliest convenience" that I have similarly disregarded.

That being said, I've been pleased by my dealings with Fidelity that I have initiated and agree that a nice portfolio could be constructed using their Spartan funds. I could do without being bugged about moving more assets to Fidelity or having my portfolio professionally managed, but fortunately those overtures have been easy enough to disregard.
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Re: Fidelity Advisor

Postby SGM » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:33 am

Polaris, Thanks for your post. Now I don't feel so much like the Lone Ranger. :D
"Let us endeavor, so to live, that when we die, even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain
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