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Old 09-09-2010, 07:03 PM   #41
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You only have to fog a mirror to get a car sales job.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:06 PM   #42
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You may laugh but my DS passed the Series 7 and became a broker. He hated it and stayed in the car business. He's the GM of the #2 Nissan dealer in the country.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:55 PM   #43
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As my well-informed and bright forum members suggest I am going to do my OWN thing with the help of Vanguard. I switched firms this morning.

Fidelity gave me the heaviest hammer salesman they have in this area I'm sure--who wanted me to buy all these fee-based items--swearing he would help me but everything was fee, fee, fee.

After about 6 hours of work with him (this is counting the 3-1/2 hours in his office when I ended up with a major headache), I just threw up my hands and said, "Vanguard."

I am hoping I get some REAL help from Vanguard and not just some heavy-handed salesperson trying to get their paws on my money. I don't care, because either way I will be doing alot of my own homework and buying for the long-term. In the interim, it sits at Vanguard.

I asked Fidelity I don't know how many times for a CFP, please, and, hopefully, someone with a Masters in Finance but there must not be one in this State. I told them over and over that I have been in sales and am used to driving, so no big deal if I have to go somewhere for the office. Frustrating.

So, to cut to the chase, if anyone here thinks Fidelity doesn't heavy hand you with a sales pitch--especially when they think they have the upper hand because you are a relative newbie--think again.

Maybe I just got The Hammer of the company, but I definitely did not appreciate the technique at all. It verged on insulting, frankly.

By the way, I knew The Hammer would call me before I got home, so I intentionally brought my cell phone. I really wanted to see how far he would allow himself to vent. He again tried to re-sell me on the wonders of Fidelity, ended up saying he would pray for me and hung up on me.....good, I ruined part of his day. I hope that pays him back in the Universe for giving me that monstrous headache Friday.

I kept 3 items I own still at Fido (2 bonds, one fund about to pay off more), but I just will never walk into one of their offices again since this must be the way they treat customers. In short, Fidelity is out for Fidelity in my opinion.

Since I have money there still, I am entitled to use their really great website and read their information. They do have a great website.



P.S. Interesting some of the comments from people who have worked with Fido have had a similar experience of fee-grabbing. I must be in reality.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:16 PM   #44
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Fidelity gave me the heaviest hammer salesman they have in this area I'm sure--who wanted me to buy all these fee-based items--swearing he would help me but everything was fee, fee, fee.
Wow, what an nightmare. Thank goodness my experience with Fidelity was completely different. I was contacted by the rep that is assigned to me for the first time last week. He just asked a couple of questions about my investing priorities and whether I considered myself a "self-directed" investor. I told him I was and he mentioned that my portfolio seemed to be consistent with my priorities (somewhat creepy that he had reviewed it, but not unexpected). He closed by giving me his direct line phone number and told me to call him if I had questions or if I thought he could help. No high pressure at all.

I'm hoping your experience (and not mine) was the exception to the rule.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:43 PM   #45
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I also have not run into any Fidelity employees like that. I guess bad luck on your part.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:44 PM   #46
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Orchidflower, you did the right thing. I have a brick and mortar Fido shop near me that has been very respectful and helpful, but if they pulled any crap on me, I'd be outta there, too.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:55 PM   #47
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Orchidflower, you did the right thing. I have a brick and mortar Fido shop near me that has been very respectful and helpful, but if they pulled any crap on my, I'd be outta there, too.
From all the people that have used our local Fidelity shop, that is how they say their experience has been as well. No sales pitches, no hard press sales forces, etc. Just in person reps exactly like the ones you talk to on the phone. I wonder if OP's The Hammer was trying to go above and beyond and was heavily commissioned. I think most (all?) of their local staff are non-commissioned based salaried employees. Sure, if you ask for a fee based planner to manage your account for you, I imagine they could give you a sales pitch on that, but I imagine they would back off pretty quickly once you say "not interested in all those fees" a time or two, and give you the "well, here is our free account information and info on our low fees and free services that we offer" sales pitch.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:56 PM   #48
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I also have not run into any Fidelity employees like that. I guess bad luck on your part.

Audrey
I would agree; that's not my experience with FIDO (maybe they hired somebody from another firm who is not "on board" with their normal practices).
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:02 PM   #49
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Orchid, have you looked into Charles Schwab? They also have offices if you want to have face to face discussions, and many people here are happy with them, I believe.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:11 PM   #50
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You only have to fog a mirror to get a car sales job.
I can do that!

...and about Fido, I like 'em. Their reps have given me great customer service. The more you know about investments, the better you can steer them in your direction and reach satisfaction.

At least that's been my experience.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:20 PM   #51
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While I mentioned my good experiences with Fidelity in an earlier post, I also had one bad experience with a rep a few months. We seemed to clash in general, as he was a little pushy. He was making a pitch to take over the management of my assets with Fidelity, something I was dead-set against. I dropped him as a my informal advisor, writing a letter to his boss to complain about him. He also appeared to have stolen me from another rep, something his boss did not know about (that's his problem, not mine). Coincidentally, I was returned to the rep I was previously assigned to but had never met.
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:16 PM   #52
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My experience up until this guy was great at Fidelity. A nicer group of people you couldn't find.
THEN:
This is a guy who carries a religious keyring and proudly showed it to me cause it has some "do unto others" philosophy on it. Well, Mr. Hammer in his final pitch on the phone when I was driving away was shouting that Vanguard's cost per stock trade was $13.75 and theirs was a mere $7.50. Well, kids, it ain't. Vanguard's is only $7. Shall we say "liar, liar, pants on fire?"
It's unfortunate that I pulled the one hammer salesperson on the staff (I hope he's the only one), Mr. No. 1 in the office. And it's unfortunate for him that I have been in sales so long that I knew what he was doing it was so obvious.
I came in with a good account, and he was hell bent on me using their managed services whether I wanted them or not. This has been a totally draining experience truly, and one I wish I could have avoided.
As Flo used to say, Fidelity can kiss my grits...

...and I think Mr. Hammer needs to GET some religion.
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:22 PM   #53
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While I mentioned my good experiences with Fidelity in an earlier post, I also had one bad experience with a rep a few months. We seemed to clash in general, as he was a little pushy. He was making a pitch to take over the management of my assets with Fidelity, something I was dead-set against. I dropped him as a my informal advisor, writing a letter to his boss to complain about him. He also appeared to have stolen me from another rep, something his boss did not know about (that's his problem, not mine). Coincidentally, I was returned to the rep I was previously assigned to but had never met.

Wow, sounds like some pressure is being put on the sales force to bring in the bacon, and some are taking it waaay too seriously.
And it is only the under-performers who resort to stealing other people's clients...trust me on that one. What a creep!
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:32 PM   #54
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You really think the REPS get kickbacks? As far as Fidelity Advisor Funds goes, I think they will sell that division in the next 5 years to someone else. The internal conflict there is getting worse each year. BTW, the "soft dollar" amounts you are referring to DO NOT go to the reps, they go to the brokerage firm of the reps. This practice has been going on for years, but the new financial reform bill will probably kill it, and that's not a bad thing at all.

FWIW, if someone wants to manage their own money, they go direct to Fido or VG anyways, they don't call an advisor. Advisors can use Fidelity no-loads but many do not............

I just reread this post and get it now. Internal conflicts at Fidelity? Yup, makes sense they would heavy hand someone like me. I get it. Nice to know someone that really "knows" what's going on in the firms, FinanceDude. Thanks.
Fidelity hammered me and Scrabbler1, our fellow board member. Fidelity needs the money pretty bad. This doesn't pass the smell test and something bad is going down there I bet eventually. Those who are "set" already with them they are leaving alone it seems, but they are really attacking the newbies.
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I "third" the Vanguard...
Old 09-12-2010, 11:15 AM   #55
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I "third" the Vanguard...

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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
You say that like it's a bad thing. Actually, those of us who aren't active traders should probably do much less "stock watching" and get on with enjoying life.

I second the suggestion you consider Vanguard. If you want to spend the money to have someone else manage your portfolio*, I'm guessing they would be the lowest cost alternative.


* I cringed when typing this. In my admittedly biased opinion, you'd be much better off with a simple, low-cost DIY mix of Wellesley, Wellington and cash. Have the dividends from W&W fund your cash account and look at it once a year to rebalance.
With just a little reading of diversification and the long term value of index funds I think you'd be comfortable doing it yourself. I use a Scottrade account to monitor my portfolio and do very little trading, it is accessible world wide and you probably wouldn't need to access it more than every few months.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:23 AM   #56
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Thank you OrchidFlower et al for sharing your experiences with Fidelity. I opened an account there to have inheritance money transferred in. I have an account with Vanguard, but they just opened a new Fido branch that is very convenient. I told Fido I am comparing them against Vanguard and the winner will get all my money.

I only have $5k in the account as the estate hasn't settled yet. I have received quite a few phone messages from my young account rep. I suppose I will set up a meeting once the bulk of the estate has been transferred.

I think I will try not to give too much information and just watch what their plans are.

What I will probably do is met with a NAPFA and discuss my situation then implement into an asset allocation plan that is simply structured. One frustration with Vanguard is I find their website cumbersome. The other is their brokerage fees are high and I will have a lot of stock in one company I will be selling over time.

I'll bump this thread to share my experience with Fidelity. It will be interesting to compare notes.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #57
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Well, Vanguard did just lower their buys on stocks to $7--a whole 50 cents you can save over Fidelity...yeah, I know, big whoops...
For me, the built-in fees someone else mentioned in what he purchased from Fidelity scares me, also.
But the main thing was I just do not trust them at all with their sales tactics for this newbie. I would rather pay a little more in a fee that I know about and can live with than get sneakily messed over with their high "built-in fees" mentioned in another post by one of our board members.
I got bad vibes from Fidelity's tactics, my intuition said run...and I did. Right or wrong (and I think I'm right), I have to trust the red flags I saw all over. I don't trust them. I do trust my own gut.

***By the way, when I got in there to this meeting, the salesguy at Fidelity had an entire single spaced set of notes on things I had said to the reps. He clicked off of it really fast so I couldn't see it when he was shuffling thru things to show me, but I caught it. If you don't think Fidelity is going for the KILL, you are kidding yourself. And this, remember, was the first time I ever met this guy in person.

Helen, why don't you do what I did and put something in Fidelity so you can use their great website but use Vanguard for most purchases? I can use their website now which is, granted, the best by far. Vanguard's website leaves an awful lot to be desired.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:01 PM   #58
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I am inclined to post but I feel I would get yet another infraction...........
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:20 PM   #59
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Orchid, have you looked into Charles Schwab? They also have offices if you want to have face to face discussions, and many people here are happy with them, I believe.

I'm happy with Schwab, but I have never asked them for advice or hand-holding.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:01 PM   #60
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It seems to me that if you are a do-it-yourself investor, that there is no real advantage to having all your assets at one broker anyways. Whereas, if you have an advisor, they will probably want you consolidated all at one place which typically appears to be Schwab or TDAmeritrade unless the advisor is specifically associated with a financial institution like Fidelity or Vanguard.

I don't think there is one vendor that offers the best of everything at the lowest cost. So I have a TDAmeritrade account that gives me free Level II quotes and holds assets that I won't have to sell or tax-loss-harvest or rebalance for quite a while which means no fees whatsoever. I have a little bit of money at Vanguard because I like their Admiral share class bond funds. I have some money at Fidelity because that's where my 401(k) is. And the bulk of my investments are at WellsFargo because everything is free including all commissions on ETFs and mutual funds including Fidelity and Vanguard mutual funds.

Bottom line, splitting up my assets costs me nothing yet has some advantages to me. Orchidflower is splitting between Fidelity and Vanguard which I think is a good idea.
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