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Fidelity Private Client vs Schwab Intelligent Portfolio Service
Old 12-03-2017, 09:14 AM   #1
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Fidelity Private Client vs Schwab Intelligent Portfolio Service

Hi all. New member to EarlyRetirement.

We currently have an $1MM investment account with small company is St Louis. Everything is in equity index and fixed income funds. Very unhappy with the service we get for the fees charged, considering they do nothing other than offer an annual checkin. We have to place buy/sell orders if we wish to change the mix ratio as we get older in order to reduce our risk.

We've been researching Fidelity and Schwab (have other retirement accounts at both) and wish to close our investment account with St Louis company at beginning of 2018 (after we collect capital gains from existing funds). Both offer no fee services that essentially offer the same service we are getting now.

We were wondering which of the Fidelity or Schwab service is better based on our situation. We are 3 years away from retiring and wish to focus on funds vs buying individual stocks/bonds. Also, not planning to do much other than reset the mix percentage annually to reduce our risk and maximize dividends for retirement.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:24 AM   #2
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Welcome! Are you looking to have a financial advisor manage your portfolio or do you plan to do it yourself?
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:12 AM   #3
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Welcome,

I believe you should also include Vanguard in your list. Since you favor funds (and etf's?) this is ideal for you.
No fees of course, if you want to sell or change allocation in Vanguard funds/etf's

Fidelity and Schwab are good too, as well as Merrill-Edge (Bank of America) all would have zero fees and Merrill-Edge would give you free trades per month.

Note: whoever you transfer to, they will often sweeten the pot by offering you a bonus to transfer, I was speaking with Merrill-Edge last week and they have an unwritten offer if you transfer in over $1 MM , which is a $2,600 bonus. Probably need to speak to an agent to get it, rather than doing all the account setup and transfer online yourself.

Be sure to transfer your existing funds "IN KIND" so you don't have any capital gain tax issues.
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Old 12-03-2017, 01:29 PM   #4
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I have accounts at all three. For what you want, I would choose Fidelity. No-commission ETF's, broad selection of low cost mutual funds, including index funds, and excellent personal service. Vanguard has no offices and I find their customer service to be hit or miss. Schwab is fine, especially if you want to fool with individual stocks and trading, but for the buy and hold indexer, Fidelity is much better.
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Old 12-03-2017, 01:56 PM   #5
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I have just gone through this helping a friend find a new advisor. My experience is this: Assuming face-to-face contact with an advisor is important to you (IMO it should be), the first gate is whether the broker has an office that is convenient to you. Vanguard is a great company, but has very few offices. Schwab and Fido often have offices near to each other and, hopefully, near to you.

After that gate, then the next step is to meet with a couple of advisors at each house. Call, ask for the branch manager, and describe your situation. (a $1M account is plenty to get their attention.) Ask that he/she recommend at least two staff brokers that might be a "fit." Interview all the candidates and decide from there. One question that you should always ask is: "How do you get paid?"

Frankly, Vaguard, Fido, and Schwab offer almost identical product lines. You can ask about specifics when you do your interviews but I doubt that you will find any feature or product that is so important that it will cause you to override your choice of the best personal broker "fit."

After my friend interviewed a couple of brokers he told me: "I don't need to talk to anyone else. This is the right guy." Hopefully the situations will be as crystal clear for you.

At Vanguard, Fido, and Schwab you will be dealing with fiduciaries. This is critically important. I would not look elsewhere unless your all interviews are very disappointing. Then, be very careful.
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:25 PM   #6
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I pulled out of Vanguard several years back. Not happy with the service. I have accounts at both Fidelity and Schwab. First of all you title is comparing apples to oranges. Fidelity Private Client isa service level, not an advisory/investing service. Schwab Intelligent Portfolio Service is a robo advisor.
Fidelty does have services for investing. Private client is not one of them. Although the PC rep can help you determine your AA and investments.
I do like the availability of having local offices of both firms.

I don't use either of their advisory services, but have used some in the past (the more expensive "defined strategy" type advisors). I tried them for a couple years and went back to doing all my own investing.

I find both of them are good for doing you own investing. I use mostly ETFs. I would say Fidelity has more no transaction fee ETFs, but some are more thinly traded than I like.
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:37 PM   #7
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we use Fidelity's Portfolio Advisory Services (PAS) - have had them for three years now and are very happy. I don't trust my own investment skills, though my tendency to invest and forget has, overall, worked well. We started with about $800K in 2014 and now PAS manages over $2M of our funds. Fidelity is the only one of the majors with an office local to us, and we really clicked with the account manager assigned to us. Performance has exceeded our expectations and the costs are about 1% of managed funds, which I consider well worth it.

Fidelity Private Client isn't PAS, it does read to me more along the lines of what Jimmie is looking for. No fees, just a minimum investment, and they provide advice and planning. You might also look at Fidelity Go.
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:48 PM   #8
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Assuming your profile is correct I'm using the Fidelity office you would, albeit remotely. Perhaps face to face will work better. I'm happy with Vanguard's remote support so I'm not sure remotes the issue.

I'm very disappointed in level of service from that branch, compared to the KC office. I've been switched around three times in a year, my newest advisor resembles a high pressure annuity salesman. After I finally said F no to an annuity now he's talking about their wealth management services! I keep telling him I'm really not interested in their high priced offerings I've reviewed in the past.

I'm probably going to call Schwab soon.
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Old 12-03-2017, 04:03 PM   #9
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After retiring a few months ago, I decided to meet with a Fido FA after rolling my Fido 401K to an IRA (more choices). It was a good session. He suggested that I add international to my index funds - which I did. Also suggested that we consider an annuity. To that, I had two "nots."
Not with current interest rates, and, not until we're aged a little more. Then, maybe...
No pressure meeting - no BS. Very pleased. YMMV.
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Old 12-03-2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRG View Post
Assuming your profile is correct I'm using the Fidelity office you would, albeit remotely. Perhaps face to face will work better. I'm happy with Vanguard's remote support so I'm not sure remotes the issues.

I'm very disappointed in level of service from that branch, compared to the KC office. I've been switched around three times in a year, my newest advisor resembles a high pressure annuity salesman. After I finally said F no to an annuity now he's talking about their wealth management services! I keep telling him I'm really not interested in their high priced offerings I've reviewed in the past.

I'm probably going to call Schwab soon.
Discuss your experiences with branch manager. I have been with Fidelity for 20 yrs+ and have never been hustled or pressured.
We no longer live in area served by a branch and get our support remotely from Salt Lake--great service and very responsive.
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Old 12-03-2017, 05:03 PM   #11
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I met for the first time with a FA at Fidelity in Reno just this Wednesday. He turned out to be the branch manager and a CFP. While we didn't discuss portfolio construction much, he did alert me to a decent ultra-short bond fund that pays about 1.2% yield since I indicated that I was sitting on too much cash.
No sales pitches and very helpful on how to pull cash since I'm starting to take out money for the first time next year. Unfortunately, I can't set funds to not reinvest dividends or capital gains, but I think that is only because it is a 403b (I could change that in my small roll-over IRA), so I'm just going to take dividends manually before I do a withdrawal.
I also have a Schwab account but I've never met with one of their advisors, so I can't help on a comparison.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:38 PM   #12
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Discuss your experiences with branch manager. I have been with Fidelity for 20 yrs+ and never been hustled or pressure.
We longer live in area served by a branch and get our support remotely from Salt Lake--great service and very responsive.
Thanks I will before I pull the plug. I've been a client for 15 years and this is the first time I'm seriously upset with their service.

In the last year they revoked my option privliges. When I asked it was because I said I might trade fewer contracts!

Now this new person wants to sell me an annuity. After I told him to go pound sand he's now preparing a third-party manager to "help" me. This pitch is about how bad Fidelity bond funds are, how bad their bond desk is, and how great this independent manager is!

I'd told them 15 years ago if they ever tried to sell me an annuity to kiss my azz goodby. I guess I need talk with the branch manager and explain the 1,2,3 reasons why I don't trust his staff to act as an advisor.

That said our Fidelity office in KC gave excellent support and advice. I'll give these folks one more chance to "redeem" themselves.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:53 PM   #13
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@MRG, I agree with @nwsteve. Talk to the branch manager. He/she will want to know about this.

Are you sure the person answering the phone isn't saying: "Good Afternoon, Edward Jones" ??

Worst case maybe switch to @nwsteve's guy in SLC?
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:47 PM   #14
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I think Fidelity Private Client provides excellent service. Never used Schwab so can't compare. Vanguard is not even close as far as personal service.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:00 PM   #15
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Assuming your profile is correct I'm using the Fidelity office you would, albeit remotely. Perhaps face to face will work better. I'm happy with Vanguard's remote support so I'm not sure remotes the issue.
My profile is correct - I use the Nashua, NH office. I've only interacted with a few people there, so don't know who you've been talking to. Are you a PAS client or using one of the free services?
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:32 PM   #16
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For what its worth Ill just add weve been pleased with Schwab customer service. But without regard to which outfit you use, you really have to know what you want, communicate same, and walk away if they try to talk you into something else.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:36 PM   #17
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I'm a Fidelity Private Client and I haven't heard from my assigned representative in over 2 years. He used to call twice a year for a review. I do my own thing so maybe that is why he stopped calling. I do get a free Turbo Tax download so that is something I guess. Ha.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:47 PM   #18
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My profile is correct - I use the Nashua, NH office. I've only interacted with a few people there, so don't know who you've been talking to. Are you a PAS client or using one of the free services?
I misread your location! I'm not in your area!

To try to avoid confusion I'm a Fidelity Privite Client. Cost is zero.

I'm also a Vanguard Voyager client too.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:54 PM   #19
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Another data point; we are very happy with our Fidelity adviser. He works on salary which depends partly on our rating of his services. He's great and I consider him a friend.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:50 PM   #20
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I've had accounts at both Fidelity & Schwab, now just Schwab. But I have less than 20 individual stocks + Indexed ETFs with extremely low gross expense ratios (SCHA 0.06%, SCHB 0.03%, SCHF 0.06%). I left Fidelity when they tried to hard sell mom a variable annuity (she was 86)

All 3 employ the advisors so they are free to clients. You might want to just pick whichever office is closest to you or whichever office offers the free educational seminars most beneficial to you .... they seem to be interchangeable (same $4.95 stock trading fee, free trading fees on in house ETFs, no cost annual reviews, easy access, etc)
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