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Old 09-12-2010, 07:41 PM   #61
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I'm happy with Schwab, but I have never asked them for advice or hand-holding.
Me too. I use them primarily as a discount brokerage with a good web site. But, as mentioned in earlier posts over the years, I do appreciate their help with the mechanics of various transactions as I continue to learn about investing. I use both the 24 hr tel#, on line instruction sessions and the nearby retail facility from time to time.

They must have a note in my file that I'm not interested in any FA services as that hasn't been mentioned in years.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:49 PM   #62
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We have been with Fido for sometime and never had any experience similar to Oflower. They have always been helpful and gone out of their way to be a positive resource. I screwed up a transfer between my bank and an account which amount to the money going the wrong way and of a sufficient size that would have created a mega overdraft at the bank. The Fido rep late on a Friday afternoon figured out how to do a wire transfer to zero out the error and my only cost was the incoming wire fee from the bank. Could have been much much worse.
I have had two Private Client Advisor in the last 7 years and have never been pressured to make ANY transaction much less pay a fee.
We also split our resources with Vanguard where we enjoy Flagship thanks to an inheritance. The customer service from Vanguard has at best been proficient but never exceptional. In fact when I was dealing with their estate people, they were basically rude when I caught them messing with my Mom's beneficiaries listings without her authorizations. Vanguard also administers my former Mega Corp pension which took me six months to get the correct amount to be paid. Even doubly frustrating was that every rep agreed that there was an error but seemed totally unable to fix. I had to escalate the issue through multiple levels of Vanguard management and still only got results when I contacted the Mega Corp VP of Benefits and pointed out how little they were getting from Vanguard.
It is really unfortunate, you had such a terrible experience with Fido but I would encourage you to call the branch manager and share your experience and ask for someone who better represents the client focus most of us with Fido get. BTW, Smartmoney rated Fido top of the pack. Does not say much of the "pack" but you can and should get a far better experience than you have.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:25 AM   #63
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One thing I didn't mention before is this rep wanted me to take a pittance (enough to live on frugally maybe 18 months) and keep that in checking and give them EVERY penny I had...we're talking cash and investments. EVERYTHING.

His attitude was if you don't want our managed services then avoid taxes and go into our tax deferred annuity with a big chunk of the investment money....for ONLY .025% a year.

I had mentioned to the note taking reps you initially talk to that I had a decent sum in cash that I might like to invest later (let me emphasize the word "later"), but for him to have the guts to literally push me over and over and over again to do this was shocking to me. When I said no... I had to have more than that for me to invest in stocks if I wanted to he acted like I wasn't quite thinking right. The entire experience was insulting.

For an in-person consultant to treat me like this he has to have the approval of the higher ups, because it always starts at the top and rolls downhill...and his heavy handed sales pitch has something in it for him 'cause he surely wasn't thinking of what was best for me.

And, yes, I too get Smart Money magazine.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:40 AM   #64
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One thing I didn't mention before is this rep wanted me to take a pittance (enough to live on frugally maybe 18 months) and keep that in checking and give them EVERY penny I had...we're talking cash and investments. Everything.
Does not surprise me. He is probably under pressure to justify the salary he gets..........more and more common these days........

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His attitude was if you don't want our managed services then avoid taxes and go into our tax deferred annuity....for ONLY .025% a year. You know what that is on $500K for an example? $12,500 a year in fees to Fidelity. Whether you have more than this or less than this, this is a huge, huge fee based item for them. Yeah, I am so stupid that I know that would really save me money...not.
And he kept selling and selling this, hammering and hammering.
Did you mean 2.5% or .025%? Because .025% is $1250 a year........ Like I said, there is pressure for them to justify a salary........reps at Fido and Schwab and VG and Td Ameritrade are not paid all that much unless they "grow" their business...........

Quote:
I had mentioned to the note taking reps you initially talk to that I had a decent sum in cash that I might like to invest later (let me emphasize the word "later"), but for him to have the guts to literally push me over and over and over again to do this was shocking to me. When I said no... I had to have more than that for me to invest in stocks if I wanted to he acted like I wasn't quite thinking right. It was insulting.
Maybe he was hired to be the
hammer"............

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And my hope when I went there and my thought was the initial reps you talk to could give you enough information to work with, but that isn't the way it is. You have to have an assigned specific person to work with when you need information on some item, so there would be no way for me to avoid this guy.
It's part of their sales model..........
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:47 AM   #65
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Did you mean 2.5% or .025%? Because .025% is $1250 a year
I thought .025% would be $125. But my math skills have never been much to brag about.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:56 AM   #66
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Does not surprise me. He is probably under pressure to justify the salary he gets..........more and more common these days........



Did you mean 2.5% or .025%? Because .025% is $1250 a year........ Like I said, there is pressure for them to justify a salary........reps at Fido and Schwab and VG and Td Ameritrade are not paid all that much unless they "grow" their business...........



Maybe he was hired to be the
hammer"............



It's part of their sales model..........

Thank you. I was beginning to feel like maybe I was the only one who saw thru this. But, of course, I knew you would get it, FinanceDude. Maybe I was in sales too long.....
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:34 AM   #67
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The bottom line in this post is that even so-called "direct" firms want to make money like their brethren. Take VG for example, no-load funds are very low cost, but their brokerage prices are quite high..........
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:41 AM   #68
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Take VG for example, no-load funds are very low cost, but their brokerage prices are quite high..........


Their commission schedule looks pretty reasonable to me: https://personal.vanguard.com/us/wha...eescommissions

Do you consider $7 a trade to be "quite high"?
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:51 AM   #69
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I understand from VG that they just dropped their rate from $13.50 to $7 just recently. That should tell us something about the state of business at these brokerages.
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:58 AM   #70
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Orchidflower, it's hard to believe that it's been nearly two years since you left your old "full-service" broker for Fidelity. It seems it's been quite the educational process, too.

How long did you have your funds with Fidelity before you contacted one of Fidelity's reps about managing your assets? Other than the heavy-handed sales tactics from the rep at the office, how was the rest of Fidelity's staff and their service? Is it possible that this particular rep was an isolated case compared to the other Fidelity reps you dealt with (including Spencer Oliver)? If an E-R.org poster who's in the position/knowledge today that you were two years ago asks me for a recommendation, would you propose Fidelity or Vanguard?

The advantage of managing your own assets is that you only have to be an expert on one account-- yours-- and no one else will care as much or be as alert to opportunities that come your way. Now that you're looking out for yourself and no longer in need of handholding, that's certainly what Vanguard offers.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:06 AM   #71
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I understand from VG that they just dropped their rate from $13.50 to $7 just recently.
The change took place in May when they reduced commissions on their ETFs to $0 and stocks to $7.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:15 AM   #72
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Nords, remember Spencer never called me back, because I was too far out of his territory?

I didn't contact Fidelity about managing my assets at all. I called, and they INSISTED on my having a face-to-face meeting with one of their consultants to decide what to do with some loser mutual funds I've been holding, and want to dump. It was during the meeting that it was brought up, but I was open to listening about anything they might suggest. I just did not figure the conversation would go like it did. I actually thought they might be in my corner, silly me.

I'd love my hand to be held right now, but if that's the "help" I get from any brokerage...forgetaboutit!
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:59 AM   #73
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I didn't contact Fidelity about managing my assets at all. I called, and they INSISTED on my having a face-to-face meeting with one of their consultants to decide what to do with some loser mutual funds I've been holding, and want to dump.
Sorry to hear that. In nearly 25 years with Fidelity I've never been treated that way... although for me, a face-to-face meeting with one of their reps would require someone to fly between here & Seattle.

Have you looked at the Bogleheads wiki on asset allocation and rebalancing?
Category:Asset Allocation - Bogleheads
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #74
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Yes, it has been 2-3 years since I moved things from Mom's old broker she had for a long time who was flipping all her accounts to mutual funds with 5% front-end loads. Wonder why I moved? He was leaving the firm he was a VP at, she didn't know stocks and trusted him. He left a happy man I am sure after he ripped her off royally.

I just slid everything to Fidelity at the time and left it there. I was pretty busy with a mother with dementia. Yes, my mistake, but I am now in a position to correct everything. Not that I have to justify myself to anyone else but myself.
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:00 PM   #75
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Same here. My portfolio is 100% CDs, money market or bonds. I have never bought or sold a single stock.

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I don't own stocks so that I don't have to watch them.
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:16 PM   #76
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Most of these big discount brokers are very good if you are clear with them. I have had a Fidelity account for maybe 35 years, and many other discount brokerage accounts also, most of which have been rolled up into the few big survivors.

IMO, if most things in our economy worked half as well as the discount brokerage business we would be very lucky consumers indeed.

For years I dealt with brokers that I had never met, in offices that I had never seen, and things including out-transfers and in-tranfers went swimmingly.

Even E*trade gives excellent customer service. I don't mind at all that someone may try to sell me, they have to live don't they?

I am not confused about my goals or the means to pursue them (notice I say pursue them, not meet them), so big deal if someone would like to divert a little cash flow to himself. Any salesperson enjoys trips to Hawaii, big bonuses, etc. I know I would.

Think how little Fidelity makes on a non-trading buy and hold fund investor, who buys mainly non-Fidelity funds. I am sure that this sort of customer is a loser in cash flow terms. I am very interested that they don't make more efforts to get some cash flow from them, or get rid of them. Maybe they feel that any good size account is better in-house than elswhere, even if it is not currently profitable. IMO we should remember that only a certain category of worker that I am too polite to identify can survive without generating some cash for the employer. And even that empoyer has employees who are quite effective at raising cash- it doesn't involve salesmanship however.

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Old 09-13-2010, 01:36 PM   #77
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Orchid, I feel your pain. I hate pushy salespeople. And if they bring religion into their sales pitch, as yours did, I automatically disqualify them.

In the 5 years I have been at Fidelity, I have never talked to or met with a human being there, so I can't comment on the quality of their reps. In the 6 years I have been at Vanguard, I have talked to Vanguard reps only 3 times, each time regarding administrative issues. That's how I like things. I don't need help with my investments. I don't want help with my investments. I am always very clear about that and neither Fidelity nor Vanguard has ever tried to sell me anything. My experience might have been different if I had expressed the wish to have them handle my investments. But after years spent at Ameriprise, Hell will have to freeze over before I hand over my finances to another human being.
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:45 PM   #78
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Most of these big discount brokers are very good if you are clear with them. I have had a Fidelity account for maybe 35 years, and many other discount brokerage accounts also, most of which have been rolled up into the few big survivors.

IMO, if most things in our economy worked half as well as the discount brokerage business we would be very lucky consumers indeed.

For years I dealt with brokers that I had never met, in offices that I had never seen, and things including out-transfers and in-tranfers went swimmingly.
I agree, besides my love affair with Schwab. I've also had good experiences with Vanguard, and have been quite impressed as they dealt patiently with my mom, including a rather difficult situations with her trying to understand how to access her online account.

Even my brief experience in being a sold a managed account by the Schwab guy wasn't unpleasant.

My experiences with Fidelity while limited have also gone very well.

On many occasions, while on hold or talking to a credit card, tech support, cable company support, I've thought Schwab should get out of the brokerage business and just provide customer support for other people.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:07 PM   #79
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I have Fidelity managing one of my "buckets!" I've been running a test for just about two years now: one bucket my own active stock portfolio (buying and selling based on my own research and the various tips and articles around, and cable TV blowhards); one bucket some "best performing" mutual funds, and the third bucket the Fidelity Porfolio Advisory Service with their 1% fee on top of the fees from all their mutual funds (they just buy lots of mutual funds for your portfolio, not stocks or other investments).

These are all 100% stock comparisons, measured from the day I went all-in. (My safer investments are elsewhere in CD's and real estate (my home))!

But the results so far:

S&P 500: 40.7916%
VFINX: 40.5342% (the usual Vanguard index fund mentioned here a lot)
Personal stock portfolio: 38.0138%
"Best Performing Mutual Funds" from some Yahoo article I read in '08 (AMAGX, JMCVX, EEM): 47.8664%
Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Service (after 1% commission): 43.1155%

So Fidelity has done better than the benchmark, but I found those mutual funds that did even better than them, without their 1% fee, and pretty much the same beta/risk. Maybe I was just lucky, I don't know.

I do know that doing my best finding my own stocks, listening to everything online, and everyone on MSNBC and the financial channels and the Wall Street Journal, and carefully considering all that, and applying common sense, just didn't work for me. My personal portfolio did worse than the indices, and the professionals too. Lots of wasted time!
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:19 PM   #80
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But the results so far:

S&P 500: 40.7916%
VFINX: 40.5342% (the usual Vanguard index fund mentioned here a lot)
Personal stock portfolio: 38.0138%
"Best Performing Mutual Funds" from some Yahoo article I read in '08 (AMAGX, JMCVX, EEM): 47.8664%
Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Service (after 1% commission): 43.1155%
What is the start and end dates?
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