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Sell Me on Fidelity rather than Vanguard
Old 02-02-2018, 12:24 PM   #1
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Sell Me on Fidelity rather than Vanguard

Full Disclosure: We already have both a brokerage account at Fidelity and a mutual fund account at Vanguard, and we're happy with that. So this isn't as much an either/or question but rather a question about whether it matters "How much is where?"

Our retirement funds are currently divided between Fidelity, Vanguard, and my former employer's 401k: 43%, 37%, 21%. I'll be rolling my former employer's 401k into an (already established and funded) IRA, either at Fidelity or Vanguard. My knee-jerk instinct is to roll the 401k into Vanguard, but there are a few considerations:

We do our banking at Fidelity. There's an investor center here in town, so I would expect that status - and maintaining that status over the long term - would have some benefit combined with the investor center. Could someone who favors Fidelity please elaborate about that, especially with regard to how that helps you once you're retired?

We are Fidelity Premium Services customers. If we roll the 401k into Fidelity, we'll assuredly qualify for Private Client status. What's the benefit of that?

This specific money I'm about to roll over happens to be the very last block of money that gets drawn down (significantly younger spouse's tax-deferred) if that matters.
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:56 PM   #2
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Fidelity and Vanguard are both first class operations but I intentionally separate the roles of asset custodian and asset manager to leverage each of their strengths:
  • Fidelity has a far better website, much better customer support (especially in dealing with situations like Trusts), and local offices near my house if I need them.
  • Vanguard is the originator of low cost funds and is fully committed to continuing this vision.
For this reason, I hold Vanguard ETFs in a Fidelity Brokerage account.

The Private Client Group membership gives you a dedicated customer support channel, extra handholding if you want it, and free TurboTax Premiere the last couple of years.
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:10 PM   #3
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I agree with the above comments. I also hold VG ETFs at Fido.. However DW and I stick with VG for our Roth's and her rollover IRA. Fidelity has shown better service, a superior website and equally low cost options. However since retirement I really haven't experienced any advantage to Private Client Status other than free Turbo Tax.
Certainly not enough to change my allocation to meet a minimum. Unless , like some of us here, you feel the need to brag anonymously on an investment forum.��
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:25 PM   #4
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Fidelity for customer service. Plus now you can buy and and sell most I share ETFs commission free.
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:31 PM   #5
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Use both, approx. 60% at FIDO and the balance at Vanguard. Have used both for many years and have never had a problem with either. Both web page interfaces are pretty intuitive and easy to navigate.
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:38 PM   #6
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I pulled my accounts from VG a while back. I use both Fidielity and Schwab. I had enough pondx in an IRA that I really should have had it in PIMIX (institutional shares). My PC rep did the exchange fee free.

I hold some VG ETF and funds. But between fido and shwab I can get most of what I want at lower expense ratios than VG. Plus the service is better at both.
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:45 PM   #7
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I've had Fidelity accounts for years (as well as other brokerage accounts for years). There is a local Fidelity office that I have never been to. I sent my kid there to open an account and the sales rep she talked to made mistakes.

So have you interacted with the local salesreps? Did you like them? Did they do anything for you? Or were they a mix of Larry, Moe, and Curly?

You don't need our opinions at all because you are closer to your Fido office and to your own money.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:38 PM   #8
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What exactly is involved with this superior service?

Personally, I access the various web sites and occasionally move money in or out. I see no difference between them on these counts.

I get financial advice from other sources.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:50 PM   #9
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Fido has won me over due to my experience with them as 401k custodian. Having brick and mortar locations nearby is a huge plus in case I ever need them. I would continue to use VG since they set the bar for low cost and we're all better off thanks to their spendthrift ways.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:06 PM   #10
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I had more than $7 million at VG some years ago and pulled it all and put it in Fidelity. The Flagship service was terrible, their policies inflexible and stupid, and their website laughably behind the times if you want to do anything beyond simple buy and sell transactions.

With Fidelity, not only can I email and/or call my rep or his assistant and get an immediate reply, I have a few numbers to specialized areas that handle more complicated things like option trades.

I meet in person with my rep at least annually, and have also met in their offices with trading and estate planning specialists. They host regular lunch presentations at my club (coincidentally) where the speaker presents on things like the current state of the markets/economy, and investment topics.

I have never felt the slightest pressure to do anything with any management fees, and they have been good about negotiating costs like margin loan rate.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:35 PM   #11
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I use both Vanguard(40%) and Fidelity(60%). I don't see any difference between service levels. I've seen great service from fido and crap service. Vanguard's always been great.

My biggest concern is security and data recovery. I was briefed on one of these organizations policies when I was w*rking as a consultant to them, the other's a mystery to me.

ETA: when I was local to a B&M Fidelity location that was great. Vanguard's use of remote support for customers is superior to fidelity.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:41 PM   #12
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I don't doubt Vanguard's service shortfalls, but I appreciate their low cost roots. IMO, Fidelity was drug to the low cost party screaming and gnashing their teeth.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:18 PM   #13
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All of our accounts are at Fidelity. Portfolio is all ETFs, about half Vanguard and half iShares. We also do our banking at Fidelity. I like having everything in one place. Website is top notch and customer service is excellent. Good application of technology like voice recognition security. Never used the brick and mortar office but it's nearby and good to know it's there if needed. Free TurboTax Premier is nice. Private Client Group is useful at times, but mostly just for easy access to senior people when needed. Probably more useful for those who need frequent hand-holding. Our stuff is on auto-pilot at this point.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45th Birthday View Post
I had more than $7 million at VG some years ago and pulled it all and put it in Fidelity. The Flagship service was terrible, their policies inflexible and stupid, and their website laughably behind the times if you want to do anything beyond simple buy and sell transactions.

With Fidelity, not only can I email and/or call my rep or his assistant and get an immediate reply, I have a few numbers to specialized areas that handle more complicated things like option trades.

I meet in person with my rep at least annually, and have also met in their offices with trading and estate planning specialists. They host regular lunch presentations at my club (coincidentally) where the speaker presents on things like the current state of the markets/economy, and investment topics.

I have never felt the slightest pressure to do anything with any management fees, and they have been good about negotiating costs like margin loan rate.
With 7 mil, they should be kissing your behind until the sun sets !
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:35 PM   #15
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With 7 mil, they should be kissing your behind until the sun sets !
That's what I thought as well. I even wrote a letter to the Chairman at the time, Brennan. Someone called me. Nothing changed. Money left. Now significantly more than that at Fido.
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Old 02-03-2018, 04:39 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 45th Birthday View Post
I had more than $7 million at VG some years ago and pulled it all and put it in Fidelity. The Flagship service was terrible, their policies inflexible and stupid, and their website laughably behind the times if you want to do anything beyond simple buy and sell transactions.

With Fidelity, not only can I email and/or call my rep or his assistant and get an immediate reply, I have a few numbers to specialized areas that handle more complicated things like option trades.

I meet in person with my rep at least annually, and have also met in their offices with trading and estate planning specialists. They host regular lunch presentations at my club (coincidentally) where the speaker presents on things like the current state of the markets/economy, and investment topics.

I have never felt the slightest pressure to do anything with any management fees, and they have been good about negotiating costs like margin loan rate.
i pulled all my money from vanguard after my experiences with them . stupid policies and even worse customer service. i am done with them. i use fidelity 90% and chase private client 10%
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Old 02-03-2018, 07:00 AM   #17
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I had the same question a couple of years ago. We have a Fidelity account through our 401K but I wanted to do my due diligence. We stayed with Fidelity, have some Vanguard ETFs through Fidelity and have recently accessed their local brick and mortar services. The first rep we saw a year and a half ago was "okay." We asked around for names and got a new rep. She has been extremely helpful and at our last meeting she brought in a colleague who was intimately knowledgable about our company's policies. Of course I do my own research, go in with my specific questions, and run it by you all, ha. But bottom line is that I like going in to an actual place of business, having a cup of coffee and getting help from someone from whom we'e never felt pressured at all. Plus parking is easy which is saying a lot where I live. My DH and I joked that last time we were there, it seemed like it was full of relaxed looking retirees coming in for a cup of coffee before they headed off to their day of golfing...
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:28 AM   #18
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Fidelity has been very good to me - local reps I meet with semi-annually. I had funds with Vanguard before but it felt very impersonal. Nothing against Vanguard as a fund provider, and I do have a lot of Vanguard funds in my portfolio.

I feel sort of a weird personal connection to Fidelity in that they have a major operation in a local site I used to work at (before that employer sold it off.)
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:29 AM   #19
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Gotta say, I'm floored by the relatively one-sided results of this thread. I suppose I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't at least somewhat reticent about my knee-jerk instinct (toward Vanguard). The info about Vanguard ETFs and free iShares ETF trades at Fidelity help really fill in the foundation of the Fidelity side of the equation. I'll definitely be rolling the 401k into my Fidelity IRA.

The aforementioned original knee-jerk instinct included pouring my former employer 401k into Wellesley given that the asset allocation of that 401k was pretty close to 40/60. However, that former employer 401k was actually where most of our mid-cap holdings were (a bias that was a consequence of being boxed into some very long-term, large-cap investments - boxed in by the capital gains tax impact of selling those funds now given that they are in taxable accounts and average approximately 65% gain). So with Vanguard no longer a limitation, I'm thinking now that a mix between IJH and AGG would achieve the goal here. Both are commission-free at Fidelity. Effectively, I'd be rolling that 401k over into the indexes that most closely applied to the (company-proprietary) funds in the former employer 401k.

I had a long-term view (which has been never been realized) to move away from our legacy holdings and move toward a prototypical three-index fund portfolio. However, the tax implications of messing with those holdings in our taxable accounts (again, approximately 65% gain) are just too severe, and that's put me off even trying. It seems to me now that I could at least get part of the way there, though, working around what's "stuck" (in the taxable accounts), backfilling the rest of our portfolio with either Vanguard index funds (in our Vanguard IRAs) or iShares passive ETFs (in our Fidelity IRAs). Does that sound like a sound approach?
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:06 AM   #20
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i pulled all my money from vanguard after my experiences with them . stupid policies and even worse customer service. i am done with them. i use fidelity 90% and chase private client 10%

Please. I had an inherited IRA with Fidelity which they totally screwed up in multiple ways. First they lost my Mother's death certificate. Then they did not pay the first RMD. I called and they admitted that they just "screwed up."

There are hiccups at any brokerage.

All brokerage firms copied Vanguard cuz they were losing accounts month after month. This is why Schwab recently touted that the expenses on THIER index funds beat Vanguard. By how much? 1 basis point!!!!. That's 0.01 %. Yeah. But Schwab does this mean that for years you were charging your customers higher expenses? What took you so long?

If you know what you want and don't need your hand held....vanguard is fine. If not Abigail Johnson appreciates your money.
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