Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

    Support MFO

  • Donate through PayPal

Fidelity Repeats At Top Of IBD Online Broker Survey

edited January 2016 in Fund Discussions
FYI: (IBD's Website has a new look.)
2006, when now-retired Chip Burke spotted the first hints of the financial crisis that would slap America deep into recession, he shifted his portfolio to Fidelity’s online brokerage.

Burke never worked at Fidelity, but he knew the financial firm from his decades in the asset management industry, which included stints as a bond trader, floor trader and COO of a market maker-specialist firm. “Fidelity was always old school — well-run, well-funded, conservative,” said 61-year-old Burke, who still invests for himself and his family.

IBD Top 5 Online Brokers:

Does Your Online Stock Broker Meet Your Needs?:


  • Ever so mildly surprised because their new web page design is the pits. I don't care for it one bit.
  • @Mark: I agree, it looks like you won't be able to link enlarge graphics.
  • Mark said:

    Ever so mildly surprised because their new web page design is the pits. I don't care for it one bit.

    Sorry about resurrecting this older thread but meant to reply earlier.

    I don't like their new website design either and have started to use their Active Trader Pro app on a PC and their regular app on iPad and phone. Better than using their website from a browser.

    Active trader pro is meant for active traders as the name implies but is useful for a regular portfolio and maintenance as well since the screen is so configurable with multiple widgets. Once you set it up the way you want it (which it remembers), you can do most things you want without the million clicks the web site needs. There is also a widget for the browser within it, so you can access the website if you need to, all within the same window.

    I don't know if this is still the case but I had to call and have the active trader pro added/enabled for my account, it was not automatically available. There is no fee for using it.

  • I'm not fond of Fidelity's latest website, but then again, I've found each iteration worse than the one before. Anyone remember their old color scheme (years ago)? To me it had a more attractive shade of green.

    Some of the changes they've made over time have been gratuitous, others designed to organize more and more types of information and transactions, while the most recent changes have been in part to offer a common mobile/desktop presentation. In doing so, IMHO they dumbed down (er, "simplified") the pages.

    This is an instance of a design quandary that's been around for decades - do you design an application to look uniform across platforms, or do you design an application to follow conventions on each platform (and thus look different on each)? As you might infer from the paragraph above, I think Fidelity made the wrong choice in this case.

    All that said, their current website is (again IMHO) much better than it was when they first deployed it for feedback. I stopped even looking at the first cut, I found it that unusable. This final iteration of their current design is much more usable than that initial pass.

    Regarding clicks - the IBD metric for site performance (just one of 12 different factors going into the overall scoring) is described as considering three subfactors - speed, reliability, and clicks. So already we're down to a weighting of about 3% for number of clicks needed. The text talks about clicks for trading stocks. For that, Fidelity seems about as efficient as possible. Ckick on trade, get a dialog box (no moving off current page), input the trade info (you'll get a quote in the dialog box, no clicks needed), and away you go.

    On the other hand, activities I care about, like bill pay, have gotten harder to accomplish. You used to be able to indicate that you wanted bill pay for a particular account and get there in one click. Now you have to go to a bill pay page, indicate which account you want to use, and finally land on the right page. Getting quotes (without using the trade dialog box) seems impossible. If you enter a ticker in the search box (which says "search or get a quote"), it brings up the research page. No current price to be found anywhere.

    The bottom line is that some perceived problems have to do with lack of familiarity, some with a less than ideal design, and some with the particular tasks one cares about (which is why any particular review, like IBD, may think more highly or less highly of a site than you do).
  • edited February 2016
    You noted: " If you enter a ticker in the search box (which says "search or get a quote"), it brings up the research page. No current price to be found anywhere."
    When I place a ticker in the search box, the first loaded item is a "snapshot" with pricing and other choices regarding the ticker. Now, the search use does depend upon the ticker, whether it is an etf, stock or mutual fund.

    This is what I see for the etf,

    During market open, I would need to be logged in to see the real time price for this ticker.

    Sometimes a short list on a dropdown menu will also be presented, as if there may be a question as to which fund class or real name I am searching.

  • Silly me. I was trying out mutual funds. You're right - it behaves differently for etfs. I finally remembered how to get the equivalent of the old pop up quotes box - go to Research->Quotes, then enter the fund ticker (or etf ticker, or whatever) there.

    Still a "downgrade" - used to get a quote from the home page; now need to go through the quotes page, an extra operation. I'm more bothered by the fact one is misdirected away from how to get a quote. There's a search box that says "get a quote" right in front of you, and it doesn't give fund quotes. You have to know to go to research for quotes (which is hidden until you use the drop down menu).
  • You guys really should try out the Active Trader Pro if you are placing limit orders for ETFs or want to avoid all the clicking and chaging pages. I notice that now there is even a web version It has much more things than you need but you can set up your screen with just what you want to see. All the widgets can be set synchronized so if you enter a symbol on one screen, say a quote, all the other sync widgets show data for that symbol like your current holdings, news, trends or whatever widgets you may be using at that time. You can also place trades from any widget as there is a trade popup menu next to the symbol.

    One window I find useful for ETF orders is watching the real time sales for that ETF in a widget. The current price only uses the last round lot transaction of 100 or more but there are usually a lot of odd lot or small lot transactions going on that gives you a hint as to where it might be going next better than just looking at current ask and bid. This has always saved me some money by putting the sell limit order at the higher end of the small transactions going on while the current price and bids are shown is far from it or buy orders at the lower limit of transactions going on. The color coding on that screen shows whether the transactions are taking place below bid or above ask. This way you get the bid and ask to come to you than using current bid and ask and suddenly finding they move higher after you sell or move lower after your buy.

    The service is free for Fidelity customers.
  • edited February 2016
    For mutual fund investors ( that's us ? ) this development had to make Schwab the broker of the decade !
    Ted's original post
    November 2015 in Fund Discussions Flag
    FYI: Initial investments for most funds cut to $100 from $2,500; subsequent investments reduced to $1 minimums.
  • If one is interested in where the market is heading, depth of book (Level 2) quotes provide more detailed information. Here's how these quotes look on barchartTrader, along with a brief explanation:

    (page selected for clarity and brevity, not because I've any idea what barchartTrader is)

    My understanding is that Fidelity Active Pro provides level 2 quotes only to investors making at least 120 trades/year. (TDAmeritrade says that it provides level 2 quotes without restrictions or fees.)
  • Howdy @msf and @vkt

    Overview of Fidelity's Active Trader Pro in link below.

    At least 36 trades per 12 month rolling period, and more tools available for 120 trades and above. I do agree with @vkt regarding what is available with this program has value with helping to establish a better buy/sell.

    I queried Fidelity about this a few years ago and attempted to download the program to a laptop. I/we didn't qualify for the program due to low trading volume. It didn't matter whether one could present a fact of having enough money within Fidelity account(s) to more than satisfy any other conditions and circumstances, including longevity as a customer. We still do not perform more than 36 trades/12 months.
    I do understand their position.
    I/we are very pleased with Fidelity over a 35+ year period.

    Lastly, a few years ago I mistakenly purchased and then sold (to remove the mistake) a mutual fund within a two day period. This fund did have a short term trading period monetary fee ($fine). I called Fidelity and explained the "boo-boo" and the fee was never debited against the account.

  • Fidelity used to offer Active Trader Pro as a courtesy to Private Client customers (though not level 2 quotes). They stopped doing that years ago, though.
  • I don't satisfy that trading requirement so they must have some discretion on who they offer it to. In my case, I was having a discussion with a Fidelity rep about a stop loss limit order on one of ETF sells when I was just trying to figure out how these things work. I was under the impression that stop limits were private and not visible to the market participants and was not aware of the conditional trade feature of Fidelity. She offered to set me up with Active Trader Pro at that time.

    Now I know that stop loss limit orders like market orders are stupid in thinly traded ETFs and guaranteed to lose money. In conditional trades, the order is kept at Fidelity and not sent to the exchanges until the condition is triggered. Unless you are depending on millisecond executions, this is good enough for most retail ETF investors that want some downside protection (not for flash crashes though).
Sign In or Register to comment.