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Overall

Fidelity Go, which is backed by the iconic Fidelity brand, is low cost and competitive, and offers a major advantage for clients as each one gains access to all of Fidelity’s services.

By Blain Reinkensmeyer / February 21st, 2017 / Updated: May 23rd, 2017

Dislikes
  • Pricing explanation on FAQ section is confusing
  • No automated tax loss strategies
  • Live chat is difficult to use

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Fidelity, founded in 1946, has been a landing spot for self-directed investors for decades. The firm manages $2.2 trillion as of December 31, 2016, and is the largest retirement provider in the nation. However, Fidelity is brand new to the robo-advisor arena, having launched its offering in August 2016.

A robo-advisor is an online advisory firm that uses a team of investment managers and a computer program to manage your investments. Fidelity Go is fully automated, which means everything is set up using just your computer. However, if you have a customer service question, you can still call Fidelity and speak with someone.

Investment Approach

Fidelity Go takes a unique approach on its investment philosophy. It has crafted portfolios built by a team from Geode Capital Management and Strategic Advisors. Geode is not new to Fidelity. Geode acts as a sub-advisor on a host of Fidelity’s funds and brings a similar management style to the existing managed account team.

Also, just because you are using a Fidelity product doesn’t mean all of these funds are Fidelity funds. Fidelity has its own funds, but it also uses iShares for Fidelity Go – which are a family of ETFs managed by BlackRock.

Also, just because you are using a Fidelity product doesn’t mean all of these funds are Fidelity funds. Fidelity has its own funds, but it also uses iShares for Fidelity Go – which are a family of ETFs managed by BlackRock.

Fidelity Go portfolio holdings

Through iShares, BlackRock tracks a bond or stock market index. The point is, your return is meant to mimic the market without the costs incurred by paying active management fees. According to fund-tracker Morningstar Inc., 81% of BlackRock’s core ETFs have outperformed mutual funds.

Cost

Fidelity Go charges an all-in fee of 0.35% (up to 0.40% for taxable accounts), which includes its advisory fee and fund expense ratio charges.

One confusing aspect of Fidelity Go’s pricing is how the website explains it on its FAQ section. Fidelity Go charges an advisory fee of .35%, and the underlying average expense ratio is about .10% – making the total fee .45%. But the reason the fee is only .35% is because Fidelity offers a variable fee credit – which means Fidelity gives clients a credit and the total cost is .35%.

Fidelity GoWealthfrontBettermentSchwab Intelligent PortfoliosTD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios
Total AUMNA$5.2 billion$7.3 Billion$12.3 billionNA
Minimum Deposit$5,000.00$500.00$0.00$5,000.00$5,000.00
Annual Fee - $5,0000.35%0.0%0.25% 0.00%0.30%
Annual Fee - $25,0000.35%0.15%0.25%0.00%0.30%
Annual Fee - $50,0000.35%0.20%0.25%0.00%0.30%
Annual Fee - $100,0000.35%0.23%0.25%0.00%0.30%
Annual Fee - $1,000,0000.35%0.25%0.25%0.00%0.30%
Cost 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars

Fidelity Go requires a $5,000 minimum deposit, and an investor with $5,000 at Fidelity Go will pay the same 0.35% as an investor with $200,000. One way to translate this annual fee: a Fidelity Go customer pays $1.46 per year per every $5,000 invested. For instance, an investor with $5,000 pays $17.50 a year (0.35 x 5,000) – or about the cost of a large pizza. An investor with $50,000 pays $175 for the year (0.35 x 50,000), and an investor with $100,000 pays $350 a year (0.35 x 100,000), akin to the price of dinner in Manhattan and a Broadway play.

Those fees are much smaller than the average fees of registered investment advisors, who on average charge 1.4% for clients with $100,000 according to Cerulli Associates, a firm that tracks the financial services industry. A client with $100,000 would pay $1,400 per year with an advisor, while a Fidelity Go customer with the same assets would pay only $350 per year.

Tools

One of my favorite aspects of Fidelity Go is the sign-up process. The company recommends a portfolio for you and then you can send it to yourself in an email. It’s really quite helpful, because you can review it later or even show it to your spouse. Also during registration, you can use your current Fidelity brokerage credentials to speed things along. Being a Fidelity brokerage client, I appreciated this focus on simplicity.

Once your account is established, it is immediately viewable alongside your other Fidelity brokerage accounts. For current Fidelity clients, this is a nice benefit that keeps the Fidelity Go experience seamless.

Once your account is established, it is immediately viewable alongside your other Fidelity brokerage accounts. For current Fidelity clients, this is a nice benefit that keeps the Fidelity Go experience seamless. Furthermore, even if you are not already a Fidelity brokerage client, you can still utilize all of Fidelity’s research tools; yet another benefit of having the entire experience under the same roof.

Fidelity brokerage benefits aside, when you click to view your Fidelity Go account details, you are taken to a customized overview page showing your current portfolio balance, goal status, portfolio value over time, return, current allocation, and holdings details.

Fidelity Go portfolio allocation

The layout is a minimalistic design, which was clean, however it left me wanting more. The “Balance over time” chart was awkward in its design as your initial deposit initiates a spike in the chart and then almost flatlines from there as any return cannot offset that large initial uptick. Further down the page, the portfolio allocation pie chart is useful but the holdings listing is excessively large. For ongoing portfolio monitoring, I stuck to the Fidelity brokerage area.

Fidelity Go client dashboard

Lastly, the goals functionality is very basic. You simply type in your goal of how much money you want to have for retirement, save, and then it tells you if you are on or off track. In my case, my goal of $2,000,000 left me with a “Target Not Likely”. To make matters worse, beyond several simple paragraphs of text, there was no educational content or tools to help me make a more accurate estimation of what my goal should be or what I should change to reach it. Betterment, TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, and Wealthfront all provide better experiences in this area.

Drawbacks aside, Fidelity is a retirement services leader in the United States and I fully expect the Fidelity Go experience to improve over the course of 2017. Incorporating the "Retirement Preparedness Measure (RPM)", which currently rests outside of the Fidelity Go experience, would be a step in the right direction.

Customer Service

Fidelity’s customer service over the phone is excellent. I was connected to a person in less than two minutes on each call. The automated call center allows me to say, “Fidelity Go,” and I’m immediately transferred to a person who understands Fidelity Go and can answer specific questions about the product. The staffers were friendly and helpful, with specific knowledge about Fidelity Go.

As for email contact, we sent several tests and received automated replies, with nearly every one recommending a call to the firm for more information. Basically, if you want a quick answer, call Fidelity.

That said, getting questions answered on Live Chat is a different story. It takes much longer if you’ve got a Fidelity Go question; we experienced 30-minute waits and were once disconnected from the chat. The biggest issue is tied to Fidelity Go being integrated with Fidelity’s website. It’s difficult to determine whether you’re using Fidelity’s customer service or Fidelity Go’s customer service.

As for email contact, we sent several tests and received automated replies, with nearly every one recommending a call to the firm for more information. Basically, if you want a quick answer, call Fidelity.

Other Notes

Fidelity Go doesn’t offer tax loss harvesting, which several of its competitors offer. Tax loss harvesting is a service that “harvests” — or sells — losing investments to offset the gains from winning investments, and can minimize capital gains taxes. This service is only useful on taxable accounts, because retirement accounts either defer taxes until retirement, as with a traditional IRA, or offer tax-free growth (Roth IRA).

Final Thoughts

Fidelity is a highly respected and trusted brand that has been offering brokerage services since 1946. As a brand new product in 2016, Fidelity Go has some room to improve the customer experience, for example by explaining its fees more clearly and adding a more robust goals tracker. That said, the best part of Fidelity Go is gaining access to all of Fidelity’s services. Knowing that your assets are being held at the nation’s largest retirement provider at such a discounted price is compelling, to say the least.

Fidelity Go is great for both current Fidelity customers who may be savvy investors as well as those who are new to investing. Excellent customer support over the phone for clients and education tools on the website are premier, making Fidelity Go even more attractive. Top that off with low all-in annual fees of .35% for retirement accounts, and it’s easy to see that Fidelity Go has a bright future.

Methodology

For our 2017 Robo-Advisor Review we assessed, rated, and ranked eight different firms. Instead of relying on website information and marketing materials as most editorials do, we opened and funded an account with each robo-advisor to acquire a true client experience. Learn more.

Reink Media Group (RMG) remains committed to providing transparent and unbiased reviews of various financial services and segments, including Robo-Investment Advisors (“RIA’s”). Although exempt from registration as an investment advisor under the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. §80b-1, et seq, RMG works tirelessly to ensure compliance with all applicable Security and Exchange Commission rules and regulations for entities which perform reviews and/or receive payments for advertising and solicitation. Please be advised that for purposes to this Review, RMG utilized a live account with actual funding which was later closed once the Review’s test period was complete.

View all Fidelity Go Fees & Features
Blain Reinkensmeyer

Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer Blain heads research at StockBrokers.com and has been involved in the markets since placing his first stock trade back in 2001. He developed StockBrokers.com's annual review format seven years ago, a format broker executives consider the most thorough in the industry. Blain currently maintains funded accounts with more than a dozen different US-regulated online brokers and has executed thousands of trades throughout his career. He enjoys sharing his experiences through his personal blog, StockTrader.com.


Ratings Overall

Summary

Cost
Customer Service
Investment Approach
Platforms & Tools

Best in Class

2017
 5

Overall
This broker did not finish Best in Class.

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/20/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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