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My first bad experience at Fidelity
Old 02-14-2020, 09:14 AM   #1
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My first bad experience at Fidelity

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come, but my experience on a simple mutual fund transfer in kind to Fidelity has been really bad.

Early January - After talking to a Fidelity rep on procedure, I securely emailed transfer paperwork with a copy of XYZ Mutual Fund's statement and received confirm from Fidelity.

Jan 31 - Called Fidelity and they said XYZ Fund didn't accept faxes (remember this point), so they had to send regular mail (don't know if they ever did).
Feb 7 - Called for status. Nothing yet.
Feb 13 - Called XYZ fund. They said they have received nothing regarding this account.
Feb 13 - Called Fidelity. Service guy said they sent duplicate transfer paperwork out yesterday (don't know if they did). I asked why, and told him the other company said they've received nothing. He didn't really have an answer, but said this is just part of a transfer process, and not to worry as "It wasn't sent snail mail", so it should be completed in a few days.

I continued to prod, and after being put on hold, he told me Fidelity sent the paperwork to the wrong address (not sure if it was ever sent), and to give them 10 business days or so. He then admitted they sent it snail mail (I could care less, but don't lie to me).

He then asked if I have a fax number for XYZ company, as most companies accept a fax from Fidelity, and they don't have their fax number. Back in January, they said the delay was because XYZ didn't accept faxes.

Mistakes happen, but lying is unacceptable. At this point, I have no idea if they ever sent the paperwork out (I think not), and I can count 3 times where they flat out lied to me about status.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:50 AM   #2
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If you have dates and times, complain to Fidelity. They will pull the tapes and investigate. They have 50K employees. Inevitably they have a few that need walking papers.

FWIW, I always log dates and times when I am doing this type of thing.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:50 AM   #3
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I might be an artifact of the highly measured employee system. In "good" companies, customers are always being asked to rate their experience. No employee wants to be that unlucky one that has to break the bad news, so they leave you feeling good (by candy coating or worse). The last guy gets the hot potato and by then, the candy coaters are off the hook. Unless they let you rate the chain, and they know who was in the chain, it will be hard to remedy.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:55 AM   #4
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The reason for the transfer is my desire to combine all accounts to simplify my life. I've been considering moving everything to one platform. This experience has me re-thinking that.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:55 AM   #5
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What you're seeing is a call center person without a lot of experience. I had a similar experience with Vanguard this week. Big companies hire a lot of people at close to minimum wage to staff call centers these days. Sometimes it's outsourced to third party companies. It's not a great job, and there is high turnover. So constant training of new hires, and not a lot of experience. Front line workers are discouraged from escalating calls to a supervisor. It's just the way the world works right now.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:07 AM   #6
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IMHO, what separates well run companies from the so-so ones and the bad ones is how they handle a serious problem. So far, based upon your timeline, Fidelity is not doing so well.

However, two thoughts

1.) You need to one person who is familiar with the problem, what has been done and what needs to be done. Do you have a local Fidelity office you can visit and talk in person to somebody with some authority?

2.) Remember Hanlon's Razor - "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence."
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:03 AM   #7
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Sometimes, it is SNAFU.
It took me 5 months to move $54K in cash from Vanguard to Fidelity.
Both companies pointed fingers.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
Sometimes, it is SNAFU.
It took me 5 months to move $54K in cash from Vanguard to Fidelity.
Both companies pointed fingers.


+1

It took 2.5 months to directly transfer > $1M from my workplace profit-sharing plan at T.Rowe Price to a Fidelity rollover IRA. Neither side pointed fingers, but when I asked more questions, the Fidelity rep admitted that a generic request was sent to T.Rowe Price instead of specifying the exact account information I provided. As a result, no action was taken. Once I figured out what was the problem, the transaction finally went through. But because the transaction took longer than 60 days, Fidelity withdrew the $2,500 cash bonus they initially offered me. I stated that the delay was mostly because of Fidelityís handling of this, and they eventually relented and transferred the bonus cash to my account.

So yes, sometimes itís a snafu.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelor View Post
The reason for the transfer is my desire to combine all accounts to simplify my life. I've been considering moving everything to one platform. This experience has me re-thinking that.


I once considered consolidating all my accounts at one financial institution, outside of my bank account, to provide financial simplicity in retirement years. But one bad experience at one mutual fund company X made me re-think that, whereby I inexplicably got locked out of my account for nearly a year. No account information, unhelpful phone reps, no explanation, no access to my funds. So I have mostly split my assets between Fidelity and Vanguard, so that all my cherries arenít in one basket. I still have some funds at T.Rowe Price perhaps from a sense of gratitude that they helped me pry my retirement account away from the mutual fund company X.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:04 PM   #10
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I transferred an IRA from Vanguard to Fidelity on line, it worked perfectly all transferred in 3-5 business days, I think.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:11 PM   #11
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I had some issues moving money from TIAA/CREF to Fidelity, but they were all on the TIAA/CREF side. Perhaps some of the strife comes from the desire for us (the customer) to have the new house do the dirty work of making the transfer happen. I did not look forward to the last minute sales pitch and desperate attempts for T/C to hang onto my account. But in the end, once I made the phone call and filled out the two forms, and responded to the delay request, and called my previous employer to ask them to tell T/C that I no longer worked there...... Bottom line, I don't know if Fidelity could have pried the money out of T/C.

When dealing with cleaning up an estate, several brokerages were very easy to deal with. Wells Fargo was not on that list! We had to go to the edge of lawyering up to get the funds away from them, and even then they screwed us out of a bunch of interest. It may be that Fidelity dropped the ball in OPs case, but the previous house may have also been playing keep-away.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:03 PM   #12
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What I've learned in the past couple of months moving funds around.

1) Call both financial companies involved in a move and find out exactly who should do what before hand.
2) Make sure your name is exactly the same on both accounts.
3) Send a copy of a financial statement to the transferring company so they have the correct account number and institution to move funds from.

Do all that, then say a small prayer.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:08 PM   #13
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Can attest to having major issues transferring from T Rowe to Fidelity. Dear reader, Fidelity also told me it wasn't their fault. I'd love to work somewhere where nothing was war their fault. Such a low stress lifestyle.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:53 PM   #14
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I transferred an IRA from Vanguard to Fidelity on line, it worked perfectly all transferred in 3-5 business days, I think.
This.

I try to never phone any type of business's "customer NO-service" department. It's gotten so bad out there, I cancel credit cards and get a new number issued Whenever Something even as small as a subscription service needs to be cancelled that can't be completed online.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:58 PM   #15
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The reason for the transfer is my desire to combine all accounts to simplify my life. I've been considering moving everything to one platform. This experience has me re-thinking that.
In regard to your transfer, all fund companies can and do screw up, including Fidelity. Some of my career was helping the industry reduce their screwups. Obviously there's still work to be done.

Your desire to simplify is normal but it comes with a possible risk. In the case something goes wrong, badly wrong, what happens? Imagine if Fidelity's data center was bombed? Or fell through a whole in the earth taking most of the operational staff with it. Or like I had happen, an outside entity, locks your accounts away from you. Perhaps it's a good idea to have some redundancy in providers. I use both Fidelity and Vanguard for my peace of mind.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:06 PM   #16
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Would it have helped if you went into Fidelity office and met with a rep to fill out the paperwork? Just curious since then the rep would have to be responsible and you would have someone that you can follow up with.
At least in my case, I met with the account rep and all of my transfers and consolidations went fast and trouble free. Helped that I could sign whatever paperwork was needed at the same time.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:23 PM   #17
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I transferred IRA funds from Vanguard and TD Ameritrade to Fidelity. It was all an in-kind transfer. My customer service rep or whatever they are called called each one of those companies and we did it on the phone right in her office. My transfer only took 3 days.
There is someone on this site that's not a Fidelity fan. My office is great but his sounded like it made a lot of mistakes
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:58 AM   #18
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I'm happy I have a Fidelity office less than 5 miles away.
My rep and I made the transfer of my >1M workplace acct together via phone in her office. All was completed within 5 days.
Ability to talk in person with the same rep each time was the tie breaker between Fidelity and Vanguard.
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Old 02-15-2020, 04:07 AM   #19
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Transfers of assets from other investment companies, including in kind transfers and closing accounts for me at another firm are probably the trickiest things I’ve had to deal with at Fidelity. They’ve all gone fine, just usually took quite a while. Only the HSA transfer, which couldn’t be done in kind, required me to pester the other company myself. Others had the same difficult experience with that same prior HSA custodian.

I’ve lived in a city without a Fidelity office for 10 years now. It’s made a few things more difficult, but overall been fine.
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Old 02-15-2020, 06:38 AM   #20
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My Fidelity office is 35 minutes away, which is fine.
I go there personally for Trust fund deposits for my brother.
IIRC, I have not had any true issues of note with this company in almost 40 years of investing with them.
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