I’ve been a Fidelity customer since 1995, when I opened my first IRA brokerage account. Fidelity is a privately held financial services company, founded in 1946. Fidelity’s history started in mutual funds and has grown to provide investment advice series, discount brokerage services, retirement services (they are the largest 401k manager in the US), wealth management, life insurance, and many other financial services. The company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and has revenue of over $12 billion and over 38,000 employees.
When I first opened my account, much of the engagement and relationship with Fidelity happened in person at a regional investor center, or via the phone. Today, as a customer, you still have both of these options as well as an extensive online web experience at http://www.fidelity.com. With the explosion of the Web and the functionality available at www.fidelity.com, you can essentially manage your entire investing relationship with Fidelity online.
If you are just getting started with Fidelity, you can explore and learn more directly from the home page. There are customized options based on your investment needs or situation, everything from beginning investments to retirement to building and managing wealth. You can access information on setting up an account, fees, and the variety of investment products Fidelity offers. If you are looking to transfer your investments to Fidelity, there are clear options to learn more and initiate the process.
If you’re already a Fidelity customer, you can log in and access all of your account information from one, easy to use interface. You can see your accounts in one location, view balances and positions, order history, tax information, and statements. You can also easily place online trades, transfer money and update account information (such as beneficiary information). With everything available online, you can easily access key documents that you need. I find the online statements and tax information and forms extremely helpful. You can also sign up for paperless statements that are emailed to you – makes less paper for you and saves the environment too.
Trading online is relatively easy. The online tool is very straightforward to use and well integrated with active quotes and balance positions. The commission schedule and costs are affordable at $7.95 per trade for online equity trades. Over the years, these online trades have become less expensive with Fidelity as they’ve needed to come more competitive with other discount brokerages.
If you have a 401k with Fidelity, you can access it from the main Fidelity site or through www.netbenefits.com. The interface and account information is displayed slightly differently in the 401k account set up so you’ll need to familiarize with this different layout. It is, however, relatively intuitive. You will need to click through to www.netbenefits.com to take care of any account maintenance, such as beneficiary changes.
In addition to the web site, there are a number of online utilities and applications that you can use to track your investments and relationship with Fidelity. There is an iPhone App that anyone can use to create a watch list, view charts and news, and track quotes. Fidelity customers have more functionality with this App – checking balances, viewing interactive charts and conducting trades. You can also download widgets and gadgets, download podcasts, or sign up for text alerts. For those into social media, you can “like” Fidelity on Facebook or follow Fidelity on Twitter. Check out all of these additional online Fidelity connections at http://personal.fidelity.com/misc/buffers/labs/index.shtml
If you’re not into the online experience, Fidelity still offers the old fashioned in-person experience that is very critical when it comes to investing and taking care of your money. There are 130 Investor Centers across the United States. You can access the full list by clicking on Customer Service at www.fidelity.com and then selecting Investor Centers to search by your city or zip code.