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Groundswell

Fyi On Fidelity Investments

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Just a quick FYI for some of you.

 

I know that most of you do not want to hear anything negative about any no-load company. But I've had two situations in the last few months were clients were attempting to move assets from Fidelity (one to a ETF porfolio in their e-trade account and one to Vanguard). I assisted both clients in completing the required forms to effect the tranfers. From what I could tell, all the paperwork was in good order. In both cases, Fidelity took MONTHS to move the assets and required several angry calls from the clients (they would not talk with me) to get their money moved.

 

As this site is here to help educators make informed decisions about where to invest their money. I thought this information would be useful. Fidelity has been one of the most difficult companies to work with that I have experienced in 20 years of this business.

 

You know, Fidelity is great, lots of good funds, LOW FEES, etc... But when you want to leave and they treat you like crap that says something.

 

Keep this in mind when you are thinking of where to invest your hard earned dollars.

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Groundswell,

 

No one ever said that our preferred investment choices were perfect. Some are however more perfect than others. All are better than annuities.

 

I have 403B money with Fidelity and I had one heck of a time getting them to allow me to transfer money over

from Lincoln Financial. I did this at exactly the same time I initiated a transfer with Vanguard. Vanguard is the easiest to do. Fidelity was under the impression that a retirement plan is a retirement plan and you simply can't

transfer it. I had to bypass several individuals to get to the senior Retirement specialist. I had to then explain to him what a 90-24 transfer was and that I did not need my employers permission to transfer.

 

He called me back the next day and the transfer went through.

 

 

Hope this helps. You need to get to the top dog in retirement services.

 

 

Tony

 

 

I would like to add that Fidelity has never treated me like crap. I find their customer service one of the best.

I know if I wanted to transfer my money I would never have a problem. Try getting to the right person. Retirement issues can get complicated .

 

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Hi Groundswell,

You are probably right that we don't want to hear anything negative about no load companies. It sometimes depends on who the person is who is expressing the criticism. If it’s a pro, my red flag goes up and if it’s a fellow educator, my red flag goes up too. I have my doubts that the poster who claims they are an educator is really an educator.

 

When the criticism is really a veiled attempt to attack our accepted consensus on this site that encourages all educators to invest in a low fee, no load company, that poster will be challenged.

 

I don't think you really intended to use your examples as evidence to stay away from Fidelity at all costs, but it sure came across that way when you say, "Keep this in mind (treated like crap) when you are thinking of where to invest your hard earned dollars..

 

The problem is that many educators only have Fidelity as an option. My goodness what the heck is a few weeks or even months of delay and get treated like crap. Let’s put this in perspective. As you clearly stated Fidelity is a low cost, no load company with NO surrender fees upon transfers. If I had your clients' problem ten years ago when I transferred two fixed annuities and paid a whopping $6000 in surrender fees AND TREATED LIKE CRAP ON TOP OF THOSE HUGE LOSSES, I think you now have a perspective. I would be about $12000 more in my nest egg (assuming that my money would have doubled in the last 10 years). Now the delay problem you report may not be so bad.

 

Having said this, I was also very angry at my beloved Vanguard. I collect a VA disability and it took me about 6 months to get the automatic and electronic deposit changed from my checking account to the MM fund in VG. Sometimes it was the VAs fault and sometimes it was VG fault because both were changing systems. I was very frustrated. Once it started working, everything is fine.

 

Regards,

Steve

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Steve

 

You are 100% correct. Lets look at the big picture. In the scheme of things, Fidelity is a good choice. What company hasn't screwed up here and there.

 

 

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Tony,

 

This discussion reminds me of the typical miser/tightward who could be easily talked into blowing $100 on something he doesn't need and complain vigorously about paying 17 cents more on something important.

 

Steve

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I've had problems with pretty much every no-load provider out there at one time or another. In fact Vanguard royally pissed me off a month ago. Fidelity and TIAA-CREF have also disappointed me at times, however these are usually exceptions and to be expected considering the number of transactions I do with these companies, they are bound to get some wrong - its the law of numbers when humans are involved.

 

I will also state that I have had my worst problems with insurance companies. Ironically I've had few problems with loaded mutual fund companies, though I've had fewer dealings with them. Far and away the worst entities to deal with are insurance companies (and some TPA's that act as vendors), they purposely put obstacles in your way in order to retain the assets. I will say that I've had better luck with insurance companies that primarily market Variable Annuities versus companies that primarily market fixed annuites (including equity indexed annuities).

 

I think what we all have to keep in mind is that most companies have forgotten what the term "customer service" means and while it is not O.K., it is the world we live in.

 

Everyone will have problems with pretty much every company at some point, the question is whether or not continuing to do business makes sense. My sense is that the no-load industry would have to screw up really bad for me to want to start buying loaded products for my clients.

 

ScottyD

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I side with the original post on this one. Being from Detroit I see it daily. Ford has their entire 401k portfolio at Fidelity and with good reason, there's a great deal of soft money there..... for those of you who don't know, "soft money" is what Fidelity gives to Ford to continue to monopolize the plan. Anyhow, I have never seen a smooth transaction with them. We're in process right now of taking a 90-24 away from them and they're dragging as usual. First its their forms, so we fill out their forms, then its the wrong forms, then its this, then its that. I've seen grown men cry out of confusion trying to work with the "advisors" at Fidelity. It may be possible, but I have never seen a client happy with Fidelity after telling them they want to roll money out. Customer service there means "we'll tell you whatever you want to hear as long as you keep the $$$ with us." My response to confused clients of Fidelity.... 1. Has Fidelity ever called you before this point to assist you with your management? and 2. How much do you trust an "advisor" who makes $7/hr answering customer service at the end of an 800 number?

 

This article is titled for 401(k)'s, but it relates in parts to 403(b)'s well well:

http://www.smartmoney.com/10things/index.c...ry=december2006

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I'm sorry.

 

I should not have posted about Fidelity and my experience with them. The paperwork was in good order, there was no screw up...Fidelity just dragged their feet.

 

I was shocked because, while I expect a strong conservation effort from annuity companies, I did not expect this to happen with Fidelity. When it happened a second time I thought it was a point of interest.

 

I should not have said that the clients were treated like crap by Fidelity.

 

My intent was to give some useful information for the handful of actual teachers that visit this site and are deciding between no-load carriers. If Fidelity and Vanguard had the same exact fee but one sent you a check without any trouble when you needed your money and the other one made it difficult which one would you choose?

 

I realize that this is not the site for this type of discussion.

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I think some of you agents and annuity lovers are simply trying to get your licks in. If you look hard enough for fault you certainly will find it . Its been pretty much said that no company is perfect. Look at the problems TIAA-Cref has been having. O.K, so Fidelity doesn't meet your expectations.I know Fidelity has gotten themselves in the news with some of their salespeople overstating returns but so what. I can go on and on about companies who are in trouble with the SEC for various much worse reasons than that. Insurance companies are certainly no shining stars. Lets say Insurance company A gives better service than Fidelity but charges 2.5% a year in fees. I'd still go with Fidelity because I don't do alot of trading and don't need customer service that often. But I need low fees each and every day for thirty years or more. I can't control customer service but I can control the fees I pay.

 

The bottom line is that many of Fidelity's funds along with Vanguard, TRP, TIAA-CREF which are involved in

retirement planning offer good products at low prices. I would have no problem finding an adequate assett allocation mix dealing with any of the above companies.

 

 

It seems companies start getting in trouble when they start getting greedy. Thats why I like Vanguard.

 

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Hi,

I will have to side with Scotty about the insurance companies. When I tried to transfer some my funds from a fixed-rate annuty to Vanguard, the insurance company would alway delay. I finally gave up on them and transferred everything. I would get letters and phone calls asking me not to do it. I remember one letter telling all of the risks I would be taking by transferring my funds. While Vanguard has made a few mistakes with my account, the mistakes have always been corrected. Vanguard would have to do something terrible to make me want to move my account somewhere else. Best Wishes.

 

Joe

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Same with me Joe. Transferring money away from the insurance people has always been a problem . I would get calls telling me that I was not getting what I thought I was getting by going with Vanguard.Then they would delay delay delay

 

It was a terrible experience. Just last week I helped put a young lady in Vanguard. She called Horace Mann about transferring and was given a verbal unprofessional tongue lashing by the phone rep.

 

If your transfer does not go through complain to the SEC or tell the stalling company you plan on filing a complaint. Their are ways to get any companies attention. The SEC online complaints center gets their attention.

 

 

I want to apologize again for all my grammar errors-actually they are just poor typing skills.

 

 

Soft Money given to Ford? Show me your sources. Also I have sold assetts in the past with Fidelity and I never had all these problems you state others are having.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I side with the original post on this one. Being from Detroit I see it daily. Ford has their entire 401k portfolio at Fidelity and with good reason, there's a great deal of soft money there..... for those of you who don't know, "soft money" is what Fidelity gives to Ford to continue to monopolize the plan. Anyhow, I have never seen a smooth transaction with them. We're in process right now of taking a 90-24 away from them and they're dragging as usual. First its their forms, so we fill out their forms, then its the wrong forms, then its this, then its that. I've seen grown men cry out of confusion trying to work with the "advisors" at Fidelity. It may be possible, but I have never seen a client happy with Fidelity after telling them they want to roll money out. Customer service there means "we'll tell you whatever you want to hear as long as you keep the $$$ with us." My response to confused clients of Fidelity.... 1. Has Fidelity ever called you before this point to assist you with your management? and 2. How much do you trust an "advisor" who makes $7/hr answering customer service at the end of an 800 number?

 

This article is titled for 401(k)'s, but it relates in parts to 403(b)'s well well:

http://www.smartmoney.com/10things/index.c...ry=december2006

 

 

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Tony,

 

Your response made my day...thank you.

 

"O.K, so Fidelity doesn't meet your expectations.I know Fidelity has gotten themselves in the news with some of their salespeople overstating returns but so what. I can go on and on about companies who are in trouble with the SEC for various much worse reasons than that. Insurance companies are certainly no shining stars"

 

Your missing the point. You keep going back to Insurance companies. were not talking about Insurance Companies. We can do that on every other thread on this message board.

 

We're not comparing Ins. Co's vs no load companies.

 

We're comparing no load companies.

 

Your response is...hey it's negative, he must be an annuity lover. Wrong.

 

and Jmacdonald,

 

Your picking sides? This is not a side picking issue. We all know about insurance companies and their reputation. I posted as such in a previous post.

 

Your missing the point Jmac. Here's the question. If, for some reason, you decided to move your hard earned money from Fidelity to Vanguard, would you expect to have any problems?

 

I didn't expect any problems either, but there were delays and unhappy customers. I thought I would let you know.

 

A more appropriate response would have been...thank you for the information, we'll consider that when we are deciding between Vanguard, Fidelity and Tiaa-Cref. Instead everyone starts going off on insurance companies and fees and sschullo's got red flags going up all over the place...it's hilarious.

 

Do you get it?

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I like the low fees that Fidelity offers on their Spatan funds, and in general Fidelity, in my opinion has good telephone service, however I have had problems with Fidelity(with the people in the back office ) when I transfer money, both to and from.

 

Almost every time I transfer money, they screw up. One example that bothers me is a form that they provide to transfer to your money, (it does not allow you to specify the fund so the money going in goes to a money market fund. You have to call Fidelity when the money arrives in order to get it to the fund that you want. You can also send an attachment with the transfer fund, but you never know what the people who process this will do.

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Groundswell

 

You do see from the responses that we advocates ARE willing to call a spade a spade. We are willing to acknowlege that problems do exist even in no load companies. I have not seen that kind of candor among

annuity salespeople however because their is this conflict of interest that prevents you guys from speaking honestly. I understand that you feel that we need to always come to the defense our our no load favorites. Yes we do because no matter how bad they may be it sure beats the alternative.

 

I am glad I made your day and I am so sorry I missed the point of your argument.

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Guest TR1982

Tony,

That's not true. I see plenty of issues with annuity companies and I have acknowledged them often. They are not lily white. There is almost no criticism here of no load companies even when there are major issues pointed out in the press. That's the rub I have. No loads have no warts, everybody else is diseased. Watch the reaction to this post and you will see what I mean. Some people here will never take off their rose colored glasses.

 

If you want an example, google the recent issues and problems with TC. You will find dozens of articles on the internet but almost no criticism here. I wonder why? Dan Otter almost always post articles critical of annuity companies but I didn't see one single article on TC over the last 18 months. Coincidence? Hmmm....

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