Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors Review - MagnifyMoney
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Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors Review

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Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors is the registered investment advisory division of its parent company, Fidelity Investments. This division offers portfolio management and financial planning services for middle- and upper-income individuals, as well as some corporations, pension plans and charitable organizations. There are multiple investor tiers offered with different investment minimums requirements. The firm has over 1,200 offices throughout the country and more than 9,000 advisors on staff.

The bottom line: Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors, the wealth management arm of Fidelity, offers a range of portfolio management options for all levels of investors.

  • Provides complex financial planning
  • Offers a digital-only advisor with no minimum
  • Has alternative investment options

All information included in this profile is accurate as of September 27, 2021. For more information, please consult Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors’ website.

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Overview of Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, is fairly new to the advisory scene, forming in 2017 to serve retail and workplace clients. However, its parent company FMR LLC, collectively known with its affiliates as Fidelity, has roots dating back to 1946, when Fidelity Management & Research Company was founded by Edward C. Johnson 2d.

Today, the privately owned company is run by Abigail “Abby” Johnson, the third generation of the family to lead the company. Headquartered in Boston, Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors currently has over 9,400 employees in total, most of whom perform investment advisory and research functions and also act as representatives of broker-dealers.

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors’ pros

  • Offers a digital advisory account: Clients looking for low fees or who have little money to invest can use Fidelity’s robo-advisor product, in which a proprietary algorithm recommends an asset allocation. Those who use this program receive all communication electronically.
  • Accessible nationwide: Even if you do not live near one of Fidelity’s offices that offer advisory services, you can call the team of representatives who are licensed to assist clients in every state. The firm is registered to work with investors in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
  • Includes financial planning in the portfolio management fee: While some firms charge separately for financial planning, Fidelity generally includes it in the portfolio management fee. However, it’s important to note that clients with more complex situations may incur additional costs.
  • National recognition: Fidelity is a powerhouse company with household-level recognition. In 2020, Fidelity was named the most trusted wealth management company by Investors Business Daily. In 2021, 13 of the firm’s mutual funds won 19 best fund awards in the annual Lipper Fund awards.

Fidelity’s Personal and Workplace Advisors’ cons

  • Potential conflict of interest related to securities sales: Fidelity advisors may buy or sell securities that they also recommend to clients. This could create a potential conflict of interest, as advisors could potentially benefit from recommending clients buy or sell assets they also hold. This is mitigated by the firm’s Code of Ethics.
  • Possible conflict of interest related to investment advisory program fees: Fidelity notes that because its various investment advisory programs charge different fees, its advisors may be incentivized to recommend those that pay the firm or its affiliates higher fees. It does take steps to mitigate this potential issue though, including training its employees to make recommendations that are in the client’s best interest.
  • Some disciplinary disclosures: The firm’s Form ADV notes some disciplinary disclosures (see more on that below). That said, with large firms, it is not uncommon for there to be disclosures related to the company or individual advisors.

What types of clients does Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors’ serve?

The majority of Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors’ clients are individuals without a high net worth, although it serves a number of high net worth individuals as well. (For reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 under an advisor’s management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.) The firm also works with a number of institutions, namely business and pension and profit-sharing plans.

Minimum investment requirements vary depending on which level of service clients opt for:

  • Digital advisory services: No minimum
  • Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice: $25,000
  • Fidelity Wealth Services:
    • Advisory services: $50,000
    • Wealth management: $250,000
    • Private wealth management: $2 million minimum investment and $10 million in investable assets
  • Fidelity Strategic Disciplines: $100,000 for equity strategies; $350,000 for bond strategies

Services offered by Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors offers discretionary portfolio management (meaning it does not consult the client for each trade), as well as advice and guidance to reach certain financial goals, offered either in person or over the phone. Its financial planning can assist clients assess their financial goals and determine strategies to achieve them, including in areas such as retirement planning, education savings, tax planning and estate planning.

The firm offers several levels of service when it comes to investment management. The premium level of service that Fidelity offers is through its Private Wealth Management program, which requires a $2 million minimum investment (and $10 million in investable assets). Clients in this program receive enhanced portfolio management and financial planning services, such as access to a dedicated investment manager to create a tailored portfolio across all of a client’s accounts, as well as a dedicated team of specialists to help with topics such as estate planning or employee benefits.

Clients with less to invest who still want a customized portfolio as well as planning and advice have the choice between working with the advisory services team in a phone-based relationship with a portfolio comprised of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or working with the firm’s wealth management team, which will grant them access to a dedicated representative and the use of individual securities in their portfolio. Another option is Fidelity Strategic Disciplines, which offers discretionary management of a single asset class.

Finally, for clients comfortable with online-only services, the firm offers two digital advisory program options. Fidelity Go provides simple portfolio management, while Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice includes portfolio management as well as financial planning, with access to a dedicated representative online or over the phone.

For reference, here is a full list of services offered by Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Education planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Employee benefits planning
    • Estate planning
    • Tax planning
    • Net worth and cash flow review
    • Asset allocation evaluation and recommendations
  • Educational seminars and workshops
  • Selection of other advisors

Separate from its registered investment advisory unit for individual investors, the firm’s parent company Fidelity also offers many other services across the financial services industry, with business including investment advisory, brokerage, banking and insurance. Clients also can choose to place investment trades individually through Fidelity’s brokerage business and pay per transaction, instead of choosing one of the advisory programs described above.

How Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors invests your money

How Fidelity Personal Workplace Advisors invests your money will depend on which of its available programs you use. Its digital advisory options limit your portfolio to Fidelity mutual funds, whereas its Strategic Disciplines program offers management of a single asset class.

For clients in Fidelity Wealth Advisor Solutions, Fidelity taps its affiliate firm Strategic Advisers to manage portfolios in a discretionary manner, meaning clients do not approve each individual trade. Based on your investment goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and other assets, Strategic Advisers will propose a long-term asset allocation for your account. Portfolios may include a mix of mutual funds and exchange-traded products and, in some cases, individual securities.

Clients in the Wealth Advisor Solutions may choose between total return or defensive strategies for their portfolios. The total return approach seeks to enhance return through a diversified asset class mix, while the defensive strategy aims to mitigate downside risk. Portfolios may include Fidelity and non-Fidelity funds.

The firm may also offer clients in this program tax-smart investing techniques as well as separately managed account sleeves. Clients able to invest $200,000 can access a model portfolio provided by BlackRock that aims to find mutual funds and exchange-traded products that will provide risk-adjusted income given the prevailing market conditions.

Fees Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors charges for its services

Fees for Fidelity Wealth Services: Clients typically pay a percentage of assets under management based on how much they invest. For portfolio management, the fee also covers access to financial planning services, assistance from a Fidelity representative, as well as the custody and brokerage services of a Fidelity-affiliated firm. The fee does not include any internal mutual fund fees or certain costs incurred when an outside broker or model provider is used. More complex financial planning requests may also cost more.

Client money is often invested in products that earn revenue for Fidelity, which creates a conflict of interest. To address that conflict, the firm credits back to clients the amount that Fidelity earned as a result of the investment, such as the management fee for Fidelity funds or the distribution and servicing fees for non-Fidelity funds. This credit reduces the gross advisory fee.

The fee schedules below apply only to the Fidelity Wealth Services program’s wealth management and private wealth management options. Clients who choose the Fidelity Wealth Services program at the Advisory Services team level, which has the lowest minimum of $50,000, will pay an annual rate of 1.10%, less a fee credit, across all asset levels.

Fidelity Wealth Services Annual Gross Advisory Fee for Accounts Less Than $500,000
$500,000 or less 1.50% minus credit (up to a maximum of $6,250)
Fidelity Wealth Services Annual Gross Advisory Fee for Accounts Over $500,000
First $500,000 1.25% minus credit
Next $500,000 1.10% minus credit
Next $1 million 0.90% minus credit
Next $3 million 0.70% minus credit
Over $5 million 0.50% minus credit

In addition to the portfolio management fees above, accounts that have what’s called a separately managed account sleeve to gain exposure to individual securities, may pay an additional fee ranging from 0.35% (for the domestic stock sleeve) to 0.40% (for the international stock sleeve) when they choose strategies with unaffiliated providers.

Fees for Fidelity Strategic Disciplines: Clients who opt for Fidelity’s separately managed account program, known as Fidelity Strategic Disciplines, will also pay based on a percentage of AUM, with their rate ranging anywhere from 0.20% to 0.90% for equity strategies and 0.35% to 0.40% for fixed-income strategies.

Fees for Fidelity Go and Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice: Clients who go the digital route will pay a 0.35% annual fee for Fidelity Go and 0.50% for Personalized Planning and Advice.

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors reports disclosures that are relatively minor in scope, such as being involved in violations of investment-related regulations or statutes and being subject to regulatory proceedings. All registered investment advisors are required by the SEC to disclose in paperwork they file, known as the Form ADV, any legal, regulatory or civil disciplinary actions against the firm that would be material in evaluating the firm or its management team.

For more information on the firm, you can go to its IAPD page.

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors onboarding process

  1. Contact an advisor: The firm offers three ways to get started: Call 800-544-1766, fill out an online form with your contact information to have a representative get in touch with you or search for an investor center in your area to visit.
  2. Sign a client agreement and fund your account: To enroll in a program, clients must sign a client agreement, which details the services, fees and other terms. Clients then have 90 days to fund their account with the program minimum.
  3. Stay in touch: Fidelity will contact clients at least annually to find out if their personal situation has changed. That said, clients are also responsible for notifying Fidelity throughout the year if their goals, time horizon, risk tolerance or other key factors change.

Where Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors is located

Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors has over 1,200 offices throughout the U.S. It lists office locations in the following states in its Form ADV. However, this does not necessarily capture all of the firm’s office locations. Go to the map on Fidelity’s website to find out for sure if there is a regional office or investor center near you.

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah

In addition to its numerous physical office locations, Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors is registered to work with investors in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Is Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors right for you?

Fidelity provides novice and wealthy investors with a menu of account options through its registered investment advisory service. Investors starting out and trying to reach one goal may want to consider the online-only accounts that have low minimum requirements and provide simple portfolio management tools. Investors focused on getting ready for retirement will find mutual funds and exchange-traded products as well as a focus on taxes.

However, investors should be aware that Fidelity does earn money from making recommendations and selling certain products, which can pose a potential conflict of interest. As always, whenever you’re shopping for an investment advisor it’s your responsibility to make sure you understand the specific services you’re getting, and for what price. Before you make your decision, take the time to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.