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Why Fidelity is TOPs for me
Old 08-17-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
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Why Fidelity is TOPs for me

We are in the process of closing conventional real estate financing on a property. The bank requires documentation for not only what funds you are using for your downpayment but also on every step that the dollars travel to escrow. In our case, I used funds from a partial sale of a short term muni bond fund. These funds were then ACH to a local commercial bank where I would draw a cashier check for the closing.
Financing bank's underwriter would not accept a screen shot of the account history showing funds being ACH to my commercial bank. I emailed my Fido rep and requested an email detailing the transfer that showed all the relevant info like account number, funds, and destination bank and date.
Fido is not allowed to send an unsecure email with that info. Rather just leave me hanging, I got a call from the rep and worked out the solution for them to fax the info to my bank. The Fido rep even called a second time prior to faxing to confirm the message text in detail and insure it would meet my needs.
Prior experiences with Vanguard reps would have left me at the first step--"sorry we can not email you that info--have a nice day".
Consistently, I find my Fidelity experiences are with reps who work proactively to find a way to actually help you versus my Vanguard experience of being told which "rule" does not allow them to address the issue .
Don't get me wrong Vanguard has some great funds, BUT their reps do not have a clue when it comes to helping a client with anything out of the norm.
Nwsteve
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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I'll +1 that since I've likewise received better service from Fido than Vanguard.
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Oh Oh. I can see somebody posting this thread over at the BH board to stir things up ...

BTW, I/DW use FIDO & VG and I'll agree that FIDO is better overall (and way ahead with their tools), but that's just my opinion FWIW.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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Fidelity is a boutique with popular pricing. Vanguard is Wal-Mart.

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Old 08-17-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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I have heard that pretty consistently about Fidelity.

I have seen that level of service from Schwab consistently both for myself, BIL, and mom.. They work hard to fix the problem not tell you why they can't help.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:21 PM   #6
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I was with Fido for more than 10 years, I've been with Vanguard for almost 10 now, I don't need much handholding any more. I'd recommend Vanguard, Fidelity or Schwab without reservation based on my personal,experience. I'm glad you had a good experience with Fidelity, they're a good outfit and I had good service from them as well.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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Never did business with Fido or Schwab but hold both in high regard. All in at VG and never had a service issue - very satisfied.

I really like the fact that VG is owned by its fundholders so it is like a coop or mutual company rather than a for-profit advisor/administrator/distributor.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:31 PM   #8
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I'd tend to agree with the OP. Especially if you lump Schwab in with Fidelity.

My dad had funds at Vanguard and Schwab when he passed. Schwab was able to transfer the funds according to the benificiary statements as soon as the recieved the death certificate. And they were nice about it.
Vanguard lost the death certificate more than once... I think they kept sending it to a random department that had no workers. My sister (executor) had no access to the fund while they kept chasing the multiple copies of death certificates. Did I mention that my dad died at the peak of the market (Oct 2007) and we didn't have any access to change asset allocation till March/April 2008. Look at the market trends in that timeframe. (Fortunately we got access before Sept)

Then when I tried to get custody of the 529's my dad had started for my sons they were unable to use the same death certificate. They acknowledged they had multiple copies of the death certificate, (they'd found some of the missing copies), but they were unable to use them. Because the 529 folks at vanguard don't talk to the other folks at vanguard.

I still have a small account there. I'll be thinking long and hard whether to roll my 401k to there, Fidelity, or Schwab... customer service is a huge factor.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
We are in the process of closing conventional real estate financing on a property. The bank requires documentation for not only what funds you are using for your downpayment but also on every step that the dollars travel to escrow. In our case, I used funds from a partial sale of a short term muni bond fund. These funds were then ACH to a local commercial bank where I would draw a cashier check for the closing.
Financing bank's underwriter would not accept a screen shot of the account history showing funds being ACH to my commercial bank.
Sounds like you're getting "Vanguard service" from your lender, too... I've never heard of that sort of fussiness before.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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Sounds like you're getting "Vanguard service" from your lender, too... I've never heard of that sort of fussiness before.
Nords,
You have captured the experience exactly! The loan officer at least is proactive and engaged in trying to anticipate the documentation issues. He tells me they get new requirements from Fannie/Freddie every week. We did a different deal with this same originator in April and have had documentation increase. Unlike the Vanguard metaphor, he at least will use the docs from the last transaction--for example, we did not have to complete and submit a new app
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #11
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Nwsteve,
I'm glad you are getting good service from Fido. I've got some funds there, but far more with VGD. I rarely contact reps from either company, but the VGD folks were great when I helped my MIL set up accounts recently. IMO both companies are good. I can put up with some minor hassles for the chunk of change I'm saving with VGD funds.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:30 PM   #12
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+1 for Fidelity, though I would lean to Vanguard if it were my choice. I am very very grateful that Megacorp chose Fidelity to manage 401k and mini-megacorp has stuck with them (so far). They did create some something called "co-mingled pools" that mirror the major indices (without all the formal requirements/expenses of a mutual fund), but so far so good. Web resources are excellent. Telephone support, etc are all excellent.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:51 AM   #13
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I have accounts at both Fido and VG. Both are good. Fidelity Spartan Index Funds and VG Inst or Admiral shares are very similar. I'll give the advantage to VG on cost and Fidelity on service. I guess you get what you pay for in this instance.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:43 AM   #14
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Well, I just got given another reason to prefer Fidelity over Vanguard. I have had money in both for a few years. The Vanguard account was two old 401k's. I decided to convert them and roll them together into a singular Standard IRA. No problem - easy to do - then I got the bill for the conversion costs, maintenance costs and one time fees for doing it... Some of the fees were because I wanted to keep the same funds and other fees were just due to the changes made. I have converted many things in Fidelity and have never been charged a fee for realigning my account.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:36 AM   #15
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My 401K is with TRowePrice, largest IRA is with Wellsfargo, second largest IRA with Fidelity and smallest IRA with Vanguard. I plan to move a significant hunk from Wellsfargo to Fidelity making it my largest investment firm. Fidelity's service has been very good.
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+++1 for Fidelity Investments
Old 08-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #16
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+++1 for Fidelity Investments

Almost all of our invested assets are with Fidelity. They have been very helpful any number of times. We also have an assigned advisor here in Charlotte. We had a review meeting three months ago, which was helpful and unpressured.

Same story on a new mortgage; when we moved down to NC this spring Wells Fargo Mortgage made us "jump through hoops", and Fidelity did everything necessary to make it work.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:39 PM   #17
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Almost all of our invested assets are with Fidelity. They have been very helpful any number of times. We also have an assigned advisor here in Charlotte. We had a review meeting three months ago, which was helpful and unpressured.

Same story on a new mortgage; when we moved down to NC this spring Wells Fargo Mortgage made us "jump through hoops", and Fidelity did everything necessary to make it work.
Does Fidelity originate mortgages? Through a bank subsidiary or something? I did not know about this.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:36 PM   #18
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I have been with Fido since 1990 and except for one pushy Account Executive I was able to rid myself from back in 2010, my experiences with them have been good. Back in 2005, they had a bug with their phone system (I was not using their internet, if they had it back then) and after I wrote them about it, they fixed it (after initially deciding not to; I told them I would be investing elsewhere if I could not). Last year, the website began including some extra info about their year-end distributions which aided me in my estimated tax planning.

I have a small amount with Dreyfus but their website is not as good as Fido's. I had my old 401(k) with Principal Financial Group and they were good, especially when I had to liquidate my 401(k) and ESOP with many special instructions, all followed exactly as I specified.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:28 PM   #19
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Wells Fargo originated the mortgage, their processors asked for everything except our children to get it processed. Fidelity went above an dbeyond several times, including hand delivering documents, to help get the process completed.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:20 PM   #20
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My last two 401(k) plans were with Fidelity, and there were certain things that I found annoying. While I was contributing to my 401(k) account, their website had a completely useless "Rate of Return" link. It wasn't annualized return, nor did the site explain how it was calculated, so the graph and data were meaningless to me. Also, when I left my employer and rolled my accounts over to my (Vanguard) IRA, Fidelity would only do it by mailing me a paper check, which I then had to mail to Vanguard. They also tried to induce me to pay them a substantial sum for overnight delivery versus first-class mail delivery, the latter of which they gave an unrealistically slow delivery date estimation. Prior 401(k) fiduciaries would electronically transmit the funds to my rollover IRA account. Fidelity essentially wants a few days of interest-free use of the funds.
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