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Schwab vs. Fidelity??
Old 12-09-2020, 06:05 PM   #1
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Schwab vs. Fidelity??

OK, so I have gotten closer to settling on one brokerage firm. I have a dormant Fidelity account ... 401K funds in Vanguard (Prudential manages) ... and an IRA in Raymond James. I want to consolidate to one firm, to simplify my life. I just retired and wife is still working.

Fidelity account has almost nothing in it ... vestigial account from an old IRA.
RJ has $900K. I also have some stocks and such in Ameritrade ($150K).

I want to get out of RJ due to fees, and settle down with index ETF fund. I am not an active trader. So, I am looking for a firm that offers good customer service and support. The funds I will invest in will be available at each (VTI, BND, etc). I will also liquidate Ameritrade.

So ... it will be either Fidelity or Schwab, based on my research.

Any advantage of one over the other?
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:16 PM   #2
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I have no experience with Fidelity but I moved my Raymond James account to Schwab about 30 years ago and never had any regrets. Schwab has given me excellent customer service over the years.

I've been investing in SWAGX in lieu of BND lately to avoid fees and surprise spreads when markets are moving rapidly, but they're pretty much equivalent. I still hold a sizable stake in BND in my (and DW's) Schwab IRAs.
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:19 PM   #3
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There are annual ratings of brokerages at Barron's and Kiplinger which have lots of info and comparisons of the various brokers. I would suggest you begin there. Both had Fidelity first or tied for first with Schwab also near the top.

Since you are not an active trader, it may make little difference and both brokers are well regarded.
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:26 PM   #4
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Local offices? I see my Schwab guy maybe once in three years but I still like that I have that option.

Assuming both have local offices, with your assets you will get an assigned rep. The rep is probably more important than the sign over the door. I would put together a description of your ideal rep: age, industry experience, sex, investment interests, etc. then contact the branch managers, tell them what $$ you will be bringing in, and ask to interview a couple of their troops that fit the spec. Well before each interview, run a brokercheck on each rep: https://brokercheck.finra.org/ Anything a all aromatic (unlikely), cancel the interview. Anything really stinky, forget about doing business with that branch. In each interview make it clear that you will not be looking for investment advice and are not a prospect for fee advisory services or annuities. Listen for the reaction. That will tell you a lot.

Any advantages one over the other will be minor and probably transitory. The business is too competitive for significant advantages to persist.

If you have not moved accounts before you'll probably be surprised at how easy it is. Fill out a Schwab/Fido form for each inbound account, specify whether you want the assets sold and the cash transferred or whether you want the assets transferred "in kind." If there are transaction fees at RJ, transfer in kind. RJ and Ameritrade will probably charge some kind of account closing fee. Ask that your new broker cover it for you. Also ask if there are any incentives for opening a large new account, like some $$. You never know.
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:46 PM   #5
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One thing not mentioned yet is the friendliness of their website. I would spend some time on that to see if one makes a difference to you. One reason I moved to FIDO was they had Full View allowing me to track all of my expenses and portfolio on one site. It is no where as good as Personal Capital, especially in the presentation of the data, but I did not like having to go back and forth nor to be sharing these important passwords in two places. TD was my other choice. My checking account is at Schwab.

I am happy with the service I am receiving and the sale pitches are few. My adviser has two people working for him who have been helpful with both questions and processes, so I do not need to wait to speak with him.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:14 PM   #6
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Have no experience with Schwab, but have all our TIRA's with Fidelity and am very pleased with their services.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:23 PM   #7
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I have accounts at Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade. The thing I don't like about Schwab is that they hold back coupon payments on bonds. More specifically, if your payment date falls on a weekend, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade will credit your account on the Friday just before weekend payment date. With Schwab you won't see it until Monday hours after the market closes. If it's a long weekend, at Schwab you won't see the payment until Tuesday, hours after the market closes. The Schwab trading site is also outdated. I have closed one of our accounts already with Schwab and transferred it to Fidelity. Eventually I will close out the remaining one.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:27 PM   #8
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I just posted the text below on a related thread.


I've used several but recently I've consolidated to one. (Schwab)... IMO none are prefect but I've found the tools, options and support with Schwab to be among the best that I've used. I've had a number of account managers over the years with Schwab.... (No fee) Some were good and some not so good. If I don't like the account manager assigned to my account, I just ask for a new one. Currently I have a pretty good one. He gives me help when I ask for it and knows my likes and dislikes... Probably talk to him once or twice a year.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:39 PM   #9
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My wife also has $600K+ awaiting that could get added down the road as well.
RJ has been charging 1%.
Just checked again ... my RJ account is $1.01M.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:56 PM   #10
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RJ has been charging 1%.
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:11 PM   #11
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My 401k is at Fidelity so I'm stuck there until I quit.

Rollover IRA & Roth at Schwab

I am an active trader and prefer Schwab. The few times I've needed to talk or online chat for help Schwab is nearly instant while Fidelity puts me through automated hell. I gave up after 10 minutes today with Fido.
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:17 PM   #12
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My 401k is at Fidelity so I'm stuck there until I quit.

Rollover IRA & Roth at Schwab

I am an active trader and prefer Schwab. The few times I've needed to talk or online chat for help Schwab is nearly instant while Fidelity puts me through automated hell. I gave up after 10 minutes today with Fido.
That stuff I can't stand. Ugh
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:26 PM   #13
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FWIW, if you travel internationally, both of them offer a CMA-linked debit card with no ATM fees, worldwide (and they reimburse you for the sometimes absurd fees charged by the machine operator in some countries--cough, cough, Peru, cough, cough...)

As for differences, although you didn't mention it, if you have an HSA for investment, Fidelity is arguably the best provider available.
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:35 PM   #14
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I have brokerage accounts with both Fidelity and Schwab. Executing trades is equally effective with both companies. I like Fidelity's tools and research better than Schwab's.

I like Fidelity's customer service. I have not used Schwab's customer service, so have no opinion.

Fidelity gets good marks for customer service and the quality and full-featuredness of their website, in this forum and on bogleheads.
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:50 PM   #15
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Should also mention use your account size to your advantage. That is tell the prospective broker asset size and ask what they will give to bring it over.
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:57 PM   #16
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I have multiple accounts at each institution (Ameritrade, Schwab, Fidelity). I am most used to Ameritrade's platform, having been a customer since way back (Datek days). Some miscellaneous differences:
1) Ameritrade does ACH for me in a single day, Schwab takes 2 days. Fidelity - who knows, I've had issues setting up ACH there to my credit union.
2) Ameritrade give me free wire transfers - can't answer this question w.r.t. Schwab or Fidelity
3) Fidelity offers Full View, which is a nice add (although it does have some issues). I've been using it more and more lately (trying to use it to analyze spending).
4) Fidelity and Schwab are both significantly better than Ameritrade when it comes to cash management (CD's, Bonds). (Or at least it seems that way to me.)
5) From a trading platform perspective, ThinkOrSwim (Ameritrade) is pretty awesome. (Way more than I need, but I am using more and more features as time goes by).
Note that the Schwab/Ameritrade merger has been completed, so eventually they will be combining systems. Schwab has stated that they will be using the ThinkOrSwim package (I believe).

Whatever you do, do "in kind" transfers of your account from RJ to wherever. That way you can take capital gains as you desire - which you should really look at before just going the ETF route.
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Old 12-10-2020, 05:30 AM   #17
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We have accounts at both Fidelity and Schwab and I think both are excellent. Each one has IMHO a small advantage over the other in one or two details, but those are just nits. You should be happy at either company.
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Old 12-10-2020, 06:16 AM   #18
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2) Ameritrade give me free wire transfers - can't answer this question w.r.t. Schwab or Fidelity
I get free wire transfers at Fidelity.
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Old 12-10-2020, 06:28 AM   #19
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I may go with Fidelity since I have an existing brokerage account already (hasn't been used in over 10 yrs) and I have no experience with Schwab yet. The Fidelity account has very little money in it. My one hesitation is that Schwab has an office a 15min convenient drive away for me. Closest Fidelity office is almost an hour drive.
Probably not big deal but ...
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Old 12-10-2020, 07:13 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by copyright1997reloaded View Post
I have multiple accounts at each institution (Ameritrade, Schwab, Fidelity). I am most used to Ameritrade's platform, having been a customer since way back (Datek days). Some miscellaneous differences:
1) Ameritrade does ACH for me in a single day, Schwab takes 2 days. Fidelity - who knows, I've had issues setting up ACH there to my credit union.
2) Ameritrade give me free wire transfers - can't answer this question w.r.t. Schwab or Fidelity
3) Fidelity offers Full View, which is a nice add (although it does have some issues). I've been using it more and more lately (trying to use it to analyze spending).
4) Fidelity and Schwab are both significantly better than Ameritrade when it comes to cash management (CD's, Bonds). (Or at least it seems that way to me.)
5) From a trading platform perspective, ThinkOrSwim (Ameritrade) is pretty awesome. (Way more than I need, but I am using more and more features as time goes by).
Note that the Schwab/Ameritrade merger has been completed, so eventually they will be combining systems. Schwab has stated that they will be using the ThinkOrSwim package (I believe).

Whatever you do, do "in kind" transfers of your account from RJ to wherever. That way you can take capital gains as you desire - which you should really look at before just going the ETF route.

Wow you sound just like me.
I started out using Datek back in the 90's and open thinkorswim every day and leave it open all day. I have all kinds of watch lists but leave it on one that contains any of my positions and positions I am considering.
I also have most of my holdings with Fidelity and have never had any problems with them over the many years I have been with them.
I really like Fullview as well. A place to consolidate accounts, bills, net worth etc. Then there's active trder pro which I don't use but is similar to thinkorswim.

Now that they all offer very low cost trades, I use both of them and am happy with either.
I have no experience with Schwab so can't comment there.
I also have my wife's 403b accounts, 1 with Transamerica and the other with Metlife that I should probably transfer to TD and Fidelity someday but those are only in mutual funds and have no complaints with those either.
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