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Kiplinger rates "Best of the Online Brokers"
Old 10-30-2014, 08:10 AM   #1
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Kiplinger rates "Best of the Online Brokers"

Just got my Dec 14 Kiplinger yesterday, old fashioned way, in print copy, and they have a review of Online Brokers. Fidelity is best overall, but according to the review, Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Scottrade all come in close, in the order listed above.

I use Fidelity because that is where my company 401K is administered, and it helps me to have it all in one place, mostly. Also have 2 credit unions and an inherited IRA with TRowe but I can link them to see my total AA.

Interesting read, made me think about what is important in a broker.
Vanguard decided not to participate this year, for those that use Vanguard.
I searched the Kiplinger.com site but the search listed a 2012 review of online brokers, not the most recent one.
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Old 10-30-2014, 09:36 AM   #2
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I would guess that Vanguard wouldn't rate highly because they have restrictions on trade execution. In other words, if you're going to be a "trader," VG ain't it.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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My approach is to hold Vanguard index ETFs at Fidelity. You get the ultra-low cost of Vanguard funds, with all the advantages of Fidelity's online interface, research/analytical tools, banking services, and a low-cost, worldclass brokerage experience. I've had this arrangement for quite some time, although I think Schwab would be a great option as well.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:06 AM   #4
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That is very subjective rating and evaluation of brokers.

For example:
With sufficient balance both Schwab and E*Trade answer phone on 1-3 rings and not in 10 minutes.

Maybe Fidelity bough lot of ads with Kiplinger
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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I use Tdameritrade, and I pay 0 commission on trades with Vanguard ETFs, which is all I invest in. All the flexibility, 0 costs. I don't have any reason to even consider looking elsewhere.
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Old 10-30-2014, 12:49 PM   #6
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My approach is to hold Vanguard index ETFs at Fidelity. You get the ultra-low cost of Vanguard funds, with all the advantages of Fidelity's online interface, research/analytical tools, banking services, and a low-cost, worldclass brokerage experience. I've had this arrangement for quite some time, although I think Schwab would be a great option as well.

How do you get away without the fees when buying vanguard funds at fidelity?


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Old 10-30-2014, 12:53 PM   #7
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I didn't want to take sides on the validity of the rankings, but they seemed to me to go out of the way to say it depends on what you want. I like fidelity, but then I've never tried other on-line platforms. Once I retire and move my 401K to IRA I will probably look around at other options. Till then Fido is convenient, they have a local office close by when I need it, and I get good service when I ask.

I'll probably be unlikely to change, since we all know how much we like change

Thanks for your time and comments.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:01 PM   #8
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How do you get away without the fees when buying vanguard funds at fidelity?
I stay away from Vanguard mutual funds. The Vanguard ETFs trade just like a stock for $7.95, and often carry a lower ER than the mutual fund counterpart. I trade very infrequently however, maybe once per year to rebalance. So the $7.95 is of no consequence.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:03 PM   #9
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Gotcha i was thinking of the 75$ fee for the funds.


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Old 10-30-2014, 01:09 PM   #10
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I have accounts at Fidelity and I'm pretty happy with their online platform and the commissions I pay ($0 for many ishares etf's, $7.95 for vanguard etf's). They have a few decent low cost spartan index funds.

I'm really forced to use Fidelity for brokerage due to my wife working at a FINRA regulated investment bank, but I'm happy enough with them. Once she retires, I might investigate the vanguard ETFs that trade free at Vanguard brokerage. I trade a few times a year (rebalancing, deploying new money, or harvesting losses), so the $8 commissions at Fidelity aren't that significant. Just figure less accounts is better than more accounts. I do like the option of having a margin account (for quick short term loans) and options trading at Fidelity, though I've never used either one of those benefits so far.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:20 PM   #11
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We have brokerage accounts at Vanguard, Fidelity, and E*Trade. I really see no big differences for the kind of trading I do.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:25 PM   #12
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Fidelity has great customer service and a killer website.

The Fidelity American Express rewards card is also great.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:42 PM   #13
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Verisign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do not open account with anybody without one of those .

That rules out Fidelity which provides token for its employees to access their email remotely but does not provide it for its customers.
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:14 PM   #14
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I always laugh at the broker ratings because they are pretty ridiculous.

For instance, it may have been Kiplinger or Business Week that stated upfront that ratings were based on an account of $25,000 or more in value, then ignored that when looking at commissions because one broker gave free commissions if the account had $25,000 or more in it (cash, stocks, funds, bonds, etc.).

Another peeve: the ratings often talk about research. Who cares? Since research is available free on the internet. The broker does not need to provide it.

Another peeve: Number of no-transaction fee mutual funds. Who cares? 9990 of those funds are funds that one would not buy anyways. I want to know if the 10 funds that I want to own have no commissions and no transactions fees.

I have accounts at WellsTrade, TDAmeritrade, Fidelity, Vanguard, and TIAA-CREF. That order is my ranking of them. No commissions nor fees at all of them.
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Old 10-30-2014, 06:51 PM   #15
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I would guess that Vanguard wouldn't rate highly because they have restrictions on trade execution. In other words, if you're going to be a "trader," VG ain't it.
I know that Vanguard mutual funds have trade restrictions, but Vanguard Brokerage Services (VBS) does not to my knowledge. You can trade at will a VBS just like any other broker. Are you referring to mutual funds or VBS?
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:32 PM   #16
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I used to obsess over these ratings thinking I could find the best broker that would somehow give me an edge to beat the market. Now I just try to focus on what matters - what will simplify my financial life?

Right now that's TD Ameritrade for my investing accounts because I can get Vanguard ETFs for 0 commissions. I use Fidelity for banking because I like their banking interface better than TD Ameritrade. I also have some affinity to Fidelity because I use their American Express Rewards card.
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Old 10-30-2014, 08:22 PM   #17
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Verisign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do not open account with anybody without one of those .

That rules out Fidelity which provides token for its employees to access their email remotely but does not provide it for its customers.
Thanks for that. I have been a Schwab customer for many years and never knew they offered tokens. Since we have the bulk of our assets there, security there is paramount. I ordered a token tonight.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:07 PM   #18
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I've used the security tokens at Schwab for a while.

And their debit card is my go-to for overseas trips, since they always reimburse any atm fees and also have no foreign transaction fees.


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Old 10-30-2014, 10:18 PM   #19
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My approach is to hold Vanguard index ETFs at Fidelity. You get the ultra-low cost of Vanguard funds, with all the advantages of Fidelity's online interface, research/analytical tools, banking services, and a low-cost, worldclass brokerage experience. I've had this arrangement for quite some time, although I think Schwab would be a great option as well.
I do the exact same thing. I only have Vanguard ETF's held at Fidelity. Many years ago I held everything at Vanguard but the interface absolutely drove me nuts.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:23 PM   #20
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Verisign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do not open account with anybody without one of those .

That rules out Fidelity which provides token for its employees to access their email remotely but does not provide it for its customers.

That is actually not true. Fidelity does actually offer this but it is not advertised.
Protect Your Investment Accounts With A Security Token: Fidelity, Schwab, E*Trade
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