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Old 01-12-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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Question for CyclingInvestor

I have read and enjoy your posts. We seem to share a similar investing philosphy, ie dividends and 100% individual stocks. I learned this from my grandfather years ago. My question is, you have stated before you use Schwab for your IRA. What do they have over Fidelity or any other brokerage? I ask this because I am stuck between Fidelity and Schwab for a place to rollover my 401k when I leave my job sometime in the future. I only want to buy stocks, no mutual funds. Thanks.

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Old 01-12-2008, 09:41 PM   #2
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I have accounts with both. I can say that my Platinum service with Schwab is fantastic, they always go the extra mile to wave a fee or bend a rule to make me happy.

My account with Fidelity is much smaller and only invested in mutual fund, but I have considered moving over to either Fidelity or Vanguard but stuck with Schwab. In general Schwab trades are cheaper 12.95 vs 19.95, but at $1 million in assets Fidelity trades are a bit cheaper at only $8 vs $10. Fidelity has much better house mutual funds, although I think Schwab no fee fund list is more extensive.

I prefer Schwab's research to Fidelity although both give you access to lots of 3rd party research report. If you are reasonably frequent trader (I average about 30-40 trades/year primarily writing covered calls) Schwab has a very nice trading platform that give access to level 2 quotes and bunch off other bells and whistles. Fidelity also offers these but I haven't used it.

I believe Schwab is a bit better at providing access to unusual things like IPOs, allowing IRA investments in private equity placements.

Cash management accounts are both free at certain levels Schwab's bank is currently paying 4% vs Fidelity 3%. Margin rates are esstentially the same for both companies

Schwab has more branch offices than Fidelity how important that is depends on you.
Both offer seminars, webcast etc.

My real advice is consolidate as much as possible with one in order to get the significant benefits for being a gold/platinum customer.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:46 PM   #3
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I have most assets with Schwab, some with Fido. I have generally been pleased with Schwab, but I have to say that I do not see much difference between the two, so pick one and concentrate your business there. They are sch fierce competitors that one soon offers what the other came up with.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:00 AM   #4
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I intially went to Schwab because my last job was with a company that processed
stock market data and had trading desks, so if we wanted to own individual stocks
it had to be with the designated broker, Schwab. Their service was good enough
to stay when I retired. They have a physical office nearby the few times I wanted
one. My trades are $8. They assigned me an adviser who leaves me alone in
general, but has been very helpful when I needed it, like facilitating my 401k
transfer, sending me the right forms for 72t withdrawals, tracking down a slow/
bad execution, etc.
My only other broker was Waterhouse, before 1997. My asset level was much
lower then, and that was so long ago that there is no basis for comparison.
learn, work, save, invest, fire
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:36 AM   #5
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Interesting experience with Schwab. They were okay with my accounts for 20+ years, but when I needed to make some changes on accounts after divorce, they were horrible. I sent them everything they asked for, repeatedly, over a period of two years. Nothing happened. Every time I talked to them, I would start over with someone new. I got assigned a "personal" rep in the local office. That didn't help either. She sent them everything they asked for. Still no action. I threatened to move all my assets elsewhere. Still no action. I've now pulled 90% of what I had there and still no action, though the "personal" rep calls less often to apologize that she doesn't know how to fix the issue. Maybe if I had Platinum assets there I would have gotten someone competent in the back office to fix my issues. I know it's a Schwab issue becuse several other brokerages and mutual fund companies had no problem with it and I know it's a common enough issue (move account from my name to ex's name per court order) that it must happen all the time.
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