Fidelity Review

Updated Sunday, June 26, 2011

Recommended for frequent ETF traders

Company Background:

Fidelity was founded in 1946 by Edward C. Johnson.  The company is best known as one of the world's largest mutual fund companies, with its Contra and Magellen funds respectively the first and second largest single manager equity funds in the world.  The company is also a prominent provider of 401(k) retirement plans and has investor centers located in about 100 cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Fidelity's online presence began in 1995 when the company launched their website.  It was not until 1999, however, that Fidelity began offering online trading through its PowerStreet platform.  Active Trader Pro, the company's desktop trading platform, was launched in 2002. 

Fidelity is a privately held company and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.  Edward C. Johnson III is the company's Chairman and CEO, with remaining members of the Johnson family owning a controlling stake in the firm.  Its clearing firm is National Financial Services LLC (a subsidiary of Fidelity)


  • Website:
  • Advanced Trading Platform: Active Trader Pro
  • Mobile Website:
  • iPhone App: Yes
  • iPad App: Yes
  • Android App: Yes
  • BlackBerry App: No

Review Summary:

The Fidelity web based stock and options trading platforms are below average. The desktop application, which is available to customers making 36 or more trades per year, offers an improved trading experience but it is still not in the elite category. The charts are much improved with the latest reboot and the research tools are the best in the industry.  The iPhone, iPad and Android apps have some nice features but there are a number of issues with executing stock and options trades that prevent them from being among the best mobile trading platforms.  Commissions and fees have recently been reduced and are now quite competitive. In addition, Fidelity also offers a good selection of commission free ETFs. Margin rates are excessive except for those lucky few with $500,000+ loan balances.  In the end, the commission free ETFs are enough to recommend the service alone but for other trading purposes there are better brokers out there.

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