Fidelity is a low-cost brokerage firm that mostly attracts experienced and highly active traders. Despite being low-cost, their research and analysis tools are top-notch, although not developed with the novice trader in mind. Fidelity is especially renowned for their market and asset analysis. Asset analysis if provided for different asset classes as well as for exchange traded funds.
Only traders that carry out more than 36 trades per year are given access to the desirable Active Trader Platform. If you don’t qualify, you have to stay at the basic platform which is much less customizable. You will still have access to many of the same futures and tools, just in a less convenient way since you can’t customize much.
All clients have access to simulation and back testing tools.
Only gold and silver clients get personal financial advisors, tailor-made portfolio investment guidance and retirement planning.
The commission and fee structure is based on account balance and trading frequency. There are three client levels: Gold, Silver and Bronze.
At the bronze tier, you pay approximately $20 per trade and $.045 per share ($0.75 / contract).
If you make more than 36 trades per year or have at least $50,000 in your account, you will be moved to the silver tier where you pay approximately $10 per trade and $0.015 per share ($0.75 / contract).
The gold tier is for clients that do more than 120 trades per year or have more than $1 million in the account. At this level, you pay a flat $8 plus $0.005 per share ($0.75 / contract).
Fidelity have excellent customer service, and not just compared to other low-cost brokerage firms. Many full-scale brokers could actually learn a thing or two from Fidelity’s client-friendly manners. Of course, part of this is probably due to the fact that most of Fidelity’s clients are highly experienced traders, so the customer support team doesn’t really have to babysit anyone.
A big plus with Fidelity’s customer service is that you can expect to be connected to a really knowledgeable clerk right away. You don’t have to spend valuable minutes talking to someone at ground level that doesn’t have the qualifications or mandate to help you, and who will just have to connect you to someone higher up in the hierarchy.
Customer service is available by phone, email and live chat. Fidelity was actually one of the pioneers when it comes to giving online traders access to customer support through live chat.