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Fidelity vs Schwab

edited July 2015 in Off-Topic
Recently, Fidelity has changed its website and I really don't care for the new look. I'm contemplating moving my account to Schwab and would like to solicit information from site members. Are there any members here that have experience with both companies? I welcome your opinions.


  • edited July 2015
    I dont have anything with Fidelity but I use their fund quote page quite often vs M*. Schwab has an excellent website and I have accounts with them.

    Edit: I do agree, the Fidelity website in general is not that great.
  • I've been with Fidelity for many years and it would be a pain to move the account, but the new format makes it difficult to see things the way I want. What they call progress, I call annoying. Thanks for the feedback.
  • It boils down to personal preference. I invest with both Fidelity and Vanguard with Fidelity being the easier one to navigate. You can reverse the changes if you do not like it by contacting their agents.

    On a side note, I migrated from Schwab to Vanguard many years ago. My experience with Schwab was frustrating, but they may have improved since then.
  • @Sven: thanks for the feedback.
  • I moved my 401k to Schwab last year. Fidelity was the 2nd option. My motivation had very little to do with who had the better web site though, so can't help you there. I figured I could learn to navegate whatever was offered, and besides, sites are forever changing. What you like or dislike today may not be the same a year from now. To be honest, I've struggled some with navigation on the Schwab site. Mostly I blame myself for not taking the time to learn.
  • @BrianW: In my opinion, a brokerage website look should not be a compelling reason to switch to a different broker. You should be more concerned with maintance fees, order execution and alike. MikeM has hit the nail on the head, namely, learn to be flexable and adapt.
  • I have accounts at both firms and recently moved more assets from Schwab to Fidelity due to lower fees at Fidelity and a recent frustrating customer service encounter with Schwab over a very basic account question. I have a sizable account at Schwab which used to get me a higher level of service (expedited customer service line and a dedicated account rep at my local office) but they did away with those perks a number of years ago.

    While I haven’t had much reason to contact Fidelity, I’ve experienced nothing but excellent service from their reps on both phone and chat. Their website made rolling over assets from my Schwab IRA a breeze. Fidelity also offers additional services for larger accounts.

    I’ve used all three websites: Schwab, Fidelity Classic, and Fidelity New and they all seem to meet my needs (however limited) but I guess everyone’s website needs vary.
  • MikeM and Ted, you make valid points. I have posed the same questions to myself. However, the purpose of this thread was to perform my due diligence instead of just having a tantrum.
  • Attaboy Brian. I concur with your assessment of the new website look. I tried it back when it was first introduced and said wtf, I ain't using this. I immediately switched back to the classic look. I agree with Sven's advice and it is my understanding that one can stay with and/or switch back to the classic look if they prefer. No guarantees as to how long Fidelity will support that however. Good luck.
  • My motivation to go with Schwab was the perks MrRuffles mentioned. A local office allows me an office manager and a financial adviser for assistance, questions or council at any time for no added costs. I like face to face. Hate phone conversations to who knows who and who knows where. Good luck with your decision.
  • @Mark: I appreciate the feedback and had the same response you did upon seeing the 'upgrade' (wtf).
  • I've been with Schwab for years and I'm happy. I was impressed recently when they upgraded the iPad app. The first version a real clunker, but they had it fixed quickly and it's now much better than previously. Easy to get up-to-date quotes on all my positions. Also use TDAmeritrade, but Schwab gets the nod from me.
  • @MikeM: I do appreciate the feedback concerning Schwab. I've never used an advisor, but I can see how that could be important. I make my own decisions and the decisions for others. Because of this reason, I've become accustomed to having information presented in a manner that saves me time. The new site takes away functionality in my opinion as opposed to adding to functionality. With the Classic site, I could, at a glance know if a family member had received a new contribution that needed to be invested (now I don't). I could save my desired view and have it presented upon login, now I can't. It was much easier to see the performance of each fund, a little after 5pm EST each day, now I have to put more thought into it. I could go on, but I'm not just making a decision based upon looks.
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  • edited July 2015
    I have had accounts with both Fidelity and Schwab - currently hold all my accounts at Schwab. Two comments:

    1. The Schwab website is superb. Clear, easy to navigate, with very useful research links,
    especially to Very user-friendly and intuitive.

    2. When I need to call directly to speak with a broker the service from Schwab is
    exemplary. The brokers are polite, speak crystal-clear English, and are invariably
    helpful and well-informed. They are also very responsible with regard to follow-up (if
    this is needed).

    Bottom line: I could not be more pleased to have my accounts handled by Charles Schwab.
  • I've been with Schwab for about 10 years...when I started managing my own I can't really compare to another broker, but I have been very happy with Schwab and started accounts there for my sons, as well. When my sons were in college, I really liked the fact that they could make small withdrawals from the ATM and the fees would be reimbursed at the end of the month. The only negative I can think of is that the transaction fee to buy certain funds, ie., Vanguard, Fidelity, institutional shares, is quite steep...I think $75 or so...but at least they no longer charge to sell, so if you want to take some profits, it no longer costs anything. Sometimes they offer incentives if you open an account or add funds. I think they were running a promotion a few months ago. where they would add $1000 or $2000 to your account, depending on its size.
  • Also forgot to mention that if you live near a Schwab office, you get invitations to a lot of workshops, seminars, etc., in addition to the ones they offer online.
  • Few years back, I consolidated all my taxable accounts at Schwab and have been very happy with them. Customer service is very good, especially in person at the office on my way to work. I have not really used any of their 'advice', but have a personal banker assigned to me who answers all procedural questions. Opened an account for my daughter couple of years back and she is very happy with them as well. It is her first account and she has minimal investing knowledge.

    My IRA is with Fidelity, for historical reasons, and have not bothered to move it over to Schwab. No issues at all with Fidelity as well. Wish they did not mess with their earlier website which was exemplary, but I can deal with it.
  • I have half at Fido, no complaints, exemplary c/s, and half at Merrill. I strongly recommend the latter outfit, since they offer zero-commission trading (30 a month) if you have 25k in cash at BoA or at ML, including CDs. Otherwise commissions are $7 a trade, cheaper than others.
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  • edited July 2015
    @MikeM You may have misread my comment. Unfortunately, I don’t get any perks from Schwab. Yes, they have a local office (as does Fido) but that’s standard. Not that I’ve needed any advice but I haven’t had a dedicated advisor at Schwab in years.

    And I got the runaround when calling about a simple IRA transfer question (not only that, it turned out that the phone rep wasn’t a registered broker so he wouldn’t have been able to help me if I wanted to transfer securities.).
  • Quite happy with Schwab. Local office 1 block away. If serious question, manager is always available. Nice website. No problems at all with purchases, sales, or transfers.

    No experience viz Fidelity.
  • Both Schwab and Fidelity can have service issues, it just happens. People are people. Understand that any big change of a web site has undergone a lot of testing and consumer feedback. That does not make it good, as Fidelity's new look proves - lordy it's awful. But as others have said, unless you spend a lot of time every day on a website, don't put much of the decision process on the look of the website. As an advisor, I have experience with both, and I can tell you that Schwab does some things better than Fidelity. And (yep, you guessed it), Fidelity does some things better than Schwab. My insight is that Schwab has gone to great efforts to offer consumers a lot of education, market insights, and some bling that Fidelity does not yet have. If that is important to you, so be it.
  • >> it turned out that the phone rep wasn’t a registered broker so he wouldn’t have been able to help me if I wanted to transfer securities

    Huh? Phone reps never are, in my decades of experience going back to whoever I used before Paine Webber, but always smoothly hand you off to the actual authorized person doing the transfer. Certainly the case at Fido and ML.
  • Great feedback from all. The input is appreciated!
  • I agree with all the others that a website alone is not a reason to move. (And like the OP, I do not like the new website; I thought the previous one was a minor step down from its predecessor in turn, but grew to appreciate some of its features.)

    What you want out of a brokerage should drive the decision. For a long time, Schwab seemed to have the edge on providing NL, NTF access to interesting load funds. In the past year or so, Fidelity seems to have come close by adding a number of load families as NTF funds.

    Fidelity is a lot cheaper for investing in TF funds ($5 per additional investment). And it gives you access to a good number of institutional funds at low mins in their IRA accounts.

    If you want ETFs, there are cheaper platforms (davidrmoran mentioned Merrill Edge). But if you only dabble in them, what's a few bucks difference?

    Both Fidelity and Schwab have IMHO outstanding customer service, and they're the two brokerages I generally recommend. As BobC wrote, nobody's perfect, and I've had issues with both places.

    Why I have both - I grew with Fidelity. (My original investment with them was purchased by my father before I was born, and later gifted to me.) But it was Schwab that offered "free for life" IRA accounts (mid 90s), and later provided NTF access to a fund I wanted and couldn't get w/o a load at Fidelity.

    Schwab's bank is a real bank (I've had problems with Capital One 360 setting up transfers with Fidelity). It has a great ATM card for foreign travel. As I wrote, your choice depends on what you're looking for. The website is the least of it.
  • For those just tuning in be aware that even though Fidelity is cheaper than Schwab for investing in TF funds AND they do allow for additional purchases in those funds for only $5, one must setup a systematic "automatic purchase" (monthly, quarterly etc) in order to only be charged that price. If you just try to add to previously purchased TF fund, for example online, you will get charged $49.95. Don't ask, I don't make the rules.

    Do note, if you just want to make a lump sum addition to a TF fund and only pay the $5 charge you still would set up the automatic investment but then cancel it after your purchase has been made.
  • Also, not every fund is available for automatic reinvestment (so you can't always get that $5 trade). I got burned by that a few years ago - even though Fidelity's web site claimed that the fund did allow automatic reinvestments.
  • Thanks to all. I suppose I was looking for a reason to go, but from what I'm hearing, neither is perfect. I'm going to stay for now, but I REALLY hate Fidelity's new site.
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