By, Kevin Mercadante and Barbara Friedberg
Fidelity Robo-Advisor Review by Professional Investor
Fidelity Go is an online, automated investment platform, commonly known as a robo-advisor. It is the robo-advisor arm of Fidelity Investments. Fidelity Investments is one of the largest investment brokerage firms in the world, offering brokerage services, a large family of mutual funds, retirement services, wealth management and life insurance.
In fact, as a former portfolio manager, I regularly consumed Fidelity’s stock research resources.
As of December 2018, the company had $2.4 trillion in assets under management (AUM). Fidelity operates two of the most popular equity funds in the world, Fidelity Magellan Fund and Fidelity Contrafund.
Fidelity Go represents Fidelity’s entry into the growing robo-advisor investment trend. In addition to all the other services that Fidelity offers, Fidelity Go robo-advisor provides you with the opportunity to have some or all your investment portfolio professionally managed by the platform.
- Fidelity Robo-Advisor Review by Professional Investor
- Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor Review – Features at a Glance
- What Differentiates Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor From Competitors
- Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor Review – Drill Down
- Fidelity Robo-Advisor Pros and Cons – Is Fidelity Go Right for you?
- Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor Review Wrap Up
- Fidelity Go Alternatives
What is Fidelity Go?
The Fidelity robo-advisor is designed for investors who prefer to have their money professionally managed.
You complete a questionnaire that forms the basis of your portfolio allocation, and then Fidelity Go handles all the investment management for you. The management is guided by experts and implemented with technology
You don’t need a minimum initial account deposit in order to get started, although you will need a minimum of $10 in your account before Fidelity Go can start investing your money.
This Fidelity robo investing review drills down into the platform’s details.
Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor Review – Features at a Glance
|Overview||Automated investment management robo-advisor platform with access to actively managed funds and all of the Fidelity Investment Company’s services.|
|Minimum Investment Amount||Zero|
|Fee Structure||0.35% of AUM (0.40% including net advisory fee, fund expenses, and SEC fees)|
|Top Features||Part of the Fidelity Investments family, giving you access to all that the company offers. Automated investment management. Ability to adjust your investment strategy in the future. Annual Strategic Review.|
|Free Services||Mobile app including Apple Watch alerts|
|Contact & Investing Advice||
Phone and Live Chat 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday thru Friday
|Investment Funds||Combination of index & actively managed mutual funds & exchange traded funds (ETFs), holding domestic stocks, foreign stocks, bonds, or short term investments. Most are zero-fee Fidelity Flex Funds.|
|Accounts Available||Individual & joint taxable investment accounts; Traditional, Roth & rollover IRAs|
|Promotions||Not available at this time|
What Differentiates Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor From Competitors
The Best of Fidelity Managed Accounts
Since Fidelity Go is part of the Fidelity Investments family, you can have both managed investments and self-directed investments with the same brokerage firm. You can maintain a self-directed investment account with Fidelity Investments, and allocate a portion to the Fidelity Go robo-advisor to be professionally managed.
For new or inexperienced investors, this combination do-it-yourself plus automated Fidelity Managed accounts can be particularly attractive.
You can even compare your own self-directed investing results with your Fidelity Go account to determine how well you are doing on your own.
Fidelity Managed Accounts Comparison
The Fidelity Robo is the most economical of the firm’s three managed account options and most suitable for investors who don’t need full blown and comprehensive financial planning services.
Although, investors with between $50,000 and $200,000 seeking a personal financial advisor might consider the Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Service.
You Can Change Your Fidelity Go Investment Strategy
Many robo-advisors provide very little flexibility in changing your investment strategy. Although a recommended portfolio allocation is determined when you first sign up, Fidelity Go allows you to change your investment strategy at any time. You can choose more suitable portfolio options, based on changes in your account profile.
When you change your profile, Fidelity Go will suggest a different investment strategy based on those changes. You can make the profile changes just by logging into your Account Summary.
Fidelity Go Annual Strategic Review
Annually, Fidelity Go checks in with you to make sure that it’s up to date. If anything in your profile has changed, they may suggest a new investment strategy for you. This keeps your investments from drifting out of line with your goals and risk comfort level.
Fidelity notifies you in advance of the review, and follows up with another reminder.
If you don’t respond to the emails, Fidelity Go will do their own analysis of your account and your information. If they determine that your current investment strategy is no longer appropriate based on your information, they will move your portfolio into an investment strategy that they deem a better match.
The move is initiated if Fidelity determines that your portfolio is riskier than it is suitable, based on the information they have available.
Fidelity Go Invests in Both ETFs and Mutual Funds
The robo-advisor industry standard for investments is typically index-based ETFs. And while Fidelity Go does use these funds in the construction of your portfolio, they are not limited to them either. Your Fidelity Go robo-advisor account can also be invested in actively managed mutual funds.
Distinct from index fund ETFs, actively managed mutual funds buy and sell specific securities within the fund according to a strategy that attempts to beat typical market investment returns.
The ability to invest in both passive index funds and actively managed mutual funds combines the best investment strategies in one robo-advisor.
This combination naturally comes with higher risk than the competitor robo-advisors who invest strictly in index-based ETFs.
Bonus: Ellevest Review-Robo-Advisor with Financial Planners and Career Consultants (not for women only)
However, an index-only strategy can do no better than match the performance of the general stock market. By adding in actively managed funds you gain the potential to produce higher returns, so it’s a mix that blends higher risk with the potential for higher returns.
It’s also possible that an actively traded mutual fund will under-perform the unmanaged index funds found in most robo-advisors.
Fidelity Go Review of Target Tracking
Once your account is open, you can choose a target dollar amount for your portfolio to reach by a certain date. Once you choose that amount, Fidelity Go estimates the likelihood that you will reach that goal. If it appears that you won’t, they will offer suggestions to improve your chance of hitting your goal.
In this way, Fidelity Go isn’t just managing your investments. They are also providing you with overview strategies that might help you to reach your investment goals.
Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor Review – Drill Down
The actual day-to-day management of your Fidelity Go portfolio is handled by Fidelity Personal and Workplace Advisors LLC (FPWA), a registered investment adviser.
Fidelity Brokerage Services (FBS) handles the back-end account management responsibilities.The benefit of dealing with Fidelity is that you know they have top-level professionals and that the firm will be around for the long term.
Fidelity Robo-Advisor Investment Mix
Fidelity Go’s investment mix includes passively managed US and international stock and bond funds as well as actively managed funds. Many of the robo investing funds at Fidelity are their newly launched Fidelity Flex Funds.
Fidelity Flex Funds
Fidelity has upended the investment industry with the introduction of Fidelity Flex Funds. These are similar, although not identical to, existing low-fee index mutual funds but the Fidelity Flex funds do not charge a management fee.
That’s correct, unlike all other mutual and exchange traded funds, Fidelity Flex Funds don’t charge a fund management fee!
Sample Fidelity Flex Funds Include:
|Sector||Fidelity Investment Fund||Ticker Symbol|
|U.S. Large-Cap Stocks||Fidelity Flex 500 Index||FDFIX|
|U.S. Mid-Cap Stocks||Fidelity Flex Mid-Cap Index Fund||FLAPX|
|U.S. Small-Cap Stocks||Fidelity Flex Small-Cap Index Fund||FLXSX|
|Foreign Stocks||Fidelity Flex International Index Fund||FITFX|
|Municipal Bonds||Fidelity Flex Municipal Income Fund||FUENX|
|Short-Term Municipal Bonds||Fidelity Flex Cons. Income Municipal Bond Fund||FUEMX|
|Short-Term Cash||Fidelity Government Cash Reserves||FDRXX|
The municipal bond funds are only included in taxable not retirement accounts.
When you go through the signup process and determine your risk tolerance, you’re presented with a See My Suggestion button that shows the investment sectors that the funds will represent.
I rated myself as an “8” on the risk tolerance scale, gave my age as 47 and was presented with an aggressive growth portfolio.
My aggressive portfolio allocation included:
- 60% Domestic Stock Funds
- 25% Foreign Stock Funds
- 15% Bonds
- 1% Short-Term (typically cash-like investments)
Fidelity Go Performance
According to a recent report in ThinkAdvisor the Fidelity Go returns for the past two years, for a balanced stock/bond investment portfolio was the best of 13 competitors. This particular portfolio was in a taxable account and assumed that the investor was in the top tax bracket. The average annual two-year return, ending on December 31, 2018 was 4.97% annually.
Although Fidelity Go performance information is interesting, it shouldn’t drive your investment decision. Your returns will vary based upon your asset mix and account type. Additionally, previous performance data doesn’t determine future returns.
Rebalancing means buying and selling funds to return the investment percentages back to your preferred mix. So if you chose to have 70% invested in stock funds and 30% in bond funds, and after a time the mix grew to 75% stock funds and 25% bond funds, Fidelity go would sell a portion of the stock funds and buy bond funds to return to your pre-selected 70% – 30% allocation.
Fidelity Go doesn’t have a specific percentage parameter that guides rebalancing. Instead, they continuously monitor your portfolio and the investment environment. If the markets move significantly in either direction, causing your portfolio to stray from the preferred allocation, the company rebalances it back to your preferred percentages.
Fidelity Go Login and Sign-up Process
The Fidelity Go sign up process couldn’t be easier. You can do it in just a few minutes. It starts with a seven-part questionnaire—or less!
The first three questions are the same:
- I was born in the year____________.
- This account is for – Just Me or Me and My Partner. You will be prompted to enter your partner’s birth year, if applicable.
- I am investing for – Retirement or Something Else (like a car or down payment on a house).
If you choose “something else,” you will be asked only two more questions:
- I’ll need the money in ____ years (minimum 3, maximum 30+)
- I have $____ to start and want to contribute $____ each month.
If you select “retirement,” you will continue on with four more questions:
- My preferred account type is – Tax Advantaged (IRA) or Taxable.
- I have $____________ to start and want to contribute $____________ each month.
- My household’s total annual income before taxes is about $_____________.
- Where would you be most comfortable placing yourself on the risk tolerance scale? – 1 (more conservative) TO 10 (more aggressive)
In regard to #7, I’m not certain about the integrity of determining your risk tolerance by a numeric self-assessment. The single question essentially asks you how you feel about risk, which isn’t the same thing as determining your reaction to the events that drive risk.
For example, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services asks specific questions that address the actual mechanics of risk:
- ”Generally, I prefer investments with little or no fluctuation in value…?”To which you can indicate strongly disagree, disagree, somewhat agree, agree, or strongly disagree.
- ”How stable are your current and future income sources?”To which you can indicate the degree between very unstable and very stable.
- ”What other concerns do you have about market risks?” This is an essay type question, where you are free to record any concerns that you have.
Personally, I’d advise you to consider how you might react to a risk generating event, such as the possibility of losing 25% of your portfolio in one year, or even consider the Vanguard questions. Either would be more accurate as a barometer of risk tolerance than simply assigning yourself a number.
Fortunately, you can adjust your risk tolerance if you’re too heavily weighted towards stock funds (riskier) or over-weighted in bond investments (more conservative).
But let’s get back to the sign-up process…
Once you have completed the Fidelity Go questionnaire, the platform will provide a suggested investment strategy based on your self-assigned risk score.
But an advantage with Fidelity Go is that the investment strategy that they suggest is just that – a suggestion. Once you are presented with the recommended portfolio mix, you are free to adjust your risk tolerance and investment parameters. In doing so, you can have the portfolio allocation adjusted to a level that you consider to be better matched to your preferences.
Once you decide on your actual portfolio allocation, you can open and fund your Fidelity Go account.
Fidelity Go Tax Loss Harvesting is Tax-advantaged Investing
Fidelity Go does not offer tax-loss harvesting for their taxable investment accounts (the option is unnecessary with IRAs, since they’re tax-sheltered accounts). The Fidelity robo-advisor’s nod to tax loss harvesting is the availability of a municipal bond fund for the taxable brokerage account.
Fidelity Go considers tax-advantaged investing to be IRA accounts. One area where the platform departs from typical robo-advisors is that they do not offer a specific tax-advantaged investing option. For a basic robo-advisor that offers tax-loss harvesting, consider Betterment or WiseBanyan.
Want help choosing a robo-Advisor? Try our Robo-Advisor Selection Wizard
Fidelity Go Fees
The low management fee of 0.35% (0.40% total) is only a fraction of the 1.0% to 1.5% range typically charged by full-service, traditional investment managers. And while Fidelity Go’s basic annual fee is higher than other robo-advisors, the fact that total fees are limited to 0.40% – including net advisory fee, fund expenses, and SEC fees – makes it competitive with other platforms.
The Fidelity website mentions that the fee may also be reduced by a variable fee credit.
The TD Ameritrade robo-advisors, Essential Portfolios offer comparable fees, yet also have an option with financial advisor access.
Basic robo-advisors with lower fees include, Betterment, Ellevest, Wealthfront, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios or SigFig.
Is Fidelity Go Safe?
Fidelity security is top priority. The firm safeguards your account with encryption, firewalls, secure email and 24/7 system surveillance. Fidelity also offers 2-factor authentication and money transfer lockdown which blocks your account from unauthorized withdrawals.
For additional Fidelity security you may use Fidelity MyVoice technology so that your voice pattern is recognized and verified. Finally, security text alerts are available so that you’re informed when specific transactions or updates are made to your account.
Fidelity Robo-Advisor Pros and Cons – Is Fidelity Go Right for you?
Fidelity Go Pros
- The management fee of 0.35% is well below the 1.00 – 1.50% charged by traditional investment managers. Although, there are lower fee robo-advisors such as Wealthfront and Betterment with more features.
- You can maintain a self-directed investment account with Fidelity, and allocate a portion to Fidelity Go to be professionally managed.
- Including actively managed mutual funds in your portfolio gives you the potential to outperform the market.
- You can manually adjust your asset allocation or investment percentages.
- Although not as comprehensive as Wealthfront’s Path financial advisor, the portfolio target tracking stands out as an exceptional tool to make sure you hit your financial goals.
Fidelity Go fee structure is transparent. You pay the management fee and the fund fees are zero, with no additional trading or transaction costs.
Fidelity Go Cons
- Fidelity Go’s annual management fee of 0.35% is at about the middle level for robo-advisors, but much higher than major competitors, such as Wealthfront and Betterment (both 0.25%), while WiseBanyan and Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios both offer their services with zero management fees. Although you will pay the underlying fund management fees which are in the .09% range.
- Fidelity Go is set up to accept transfers of cash and cash equivalents only. You cannot transfer securities into your account, though this is hardly unusual for robo-advisor accounts.
- Fidelity Go doesn’t offer an automatic tax-loss harvesting feature.
- The Fidelity robo-advisor offers fewer account types than most competitors including Betterment, Motif, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.
Fidelity Go Robo-Advisor Review Wrap Up
Fidelity Go is a good robo-advisor choice if you like investing through a large investment brokerage, like Fidelity Investments. That will give you the ability to take advantage of professional investment management, while also preserving the option for self-directed investing with a regular Fidelity brokerage account.Fidelity Go’s annual management fee isn’t as competitive as many other robo-advisors.
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios charges zero management fees and when you add in their ETF fees, the total robo-advisor investment cost is lower at Schwab than Fidelity.
They also provide an opportunity to have at least some of your managed portfolio invested in actively managed mutual funds. This may increase the risk of loss in your portfolio, but also the possibility of outperforming the market. Despite the fact that most robo-advisors use a passive investment approach, there are several actively managed robos.
Fidelity Go has enough advantages in its favor to merit consideration. Check out Fidelity Go’s website and see if the platform will work for you.
Bonus: Free Robo-Advisor Comparison chart (no sign up required).Find out how Fidelity Go stacks up against the robo-advisory competition.
Fidelity Go Alternatives
|Betterment||Fidelity Go||M1 Finance|
|Overview||A goals based automated investment advisor. Betterment bills itself as, "Investing Made Better." Offers a variety of human financial planning options.||Automated investment management robo-advisor platform with access to actively managed funds and all of the Fidelity Investment Company’s services.||Free robo-advisor with opportunity to customize investments.|
|Minimum Investment Amount||There is no minimum investment amount required for Digital. $100,000 required for Premium.||There is no minimum investment amount required.||$100|
|Fee Structure||Digital-0.25% AUM up to $2 million.|
Premium-0.40% AUM up to $2 million
Reduced fees above $2 million.
|0.35% of AUM (0.40% including net advisory fee, fund expenses, and SEC fees)||Zero fees for investment management. Per service charge for mailed statements, account closure etc.
|Top Features||Goal-based ETF investment portfolio. Rebalancing. Tax-loss harvesting. SRI, smart beta + income portfolios. Human financial advisor access.||Part of the Fidelity Investments family, giving you access to all that the company offers. Automated investment management. Ability to adjust your investment strategy in the future. Annual Strategic Review.||Unlimited variety of investment vehicles & strategies. Choose your own investments or pick from pre-made investment portfolios. Access to socially responsible funds. Rebalancing.|
|Free Services||See promotions.||N/A||No management fees. Includes free rebalancing + buying and selling securities.|
|Contact & Investing Advice||Phone and email support, 7 days per week.|| Phone and Live Chat 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday thru Friday||Phone M-F and Email-24/7|
|Investment Funds||Low-cost, commission-free ETFs.||Combination of index & actively managed mutual funds & exchange traded funds (ETFs), holding domestic stocks, foreign stocks, bonds, or short term investments. Most are zero-fee Fidelity Flex Funds.||Stocks, bonds, funds, and more.
|Accounts Available||Single + joint taxable brokerage. Roth, traditional, rollover + SEP IRA. Trust.||Single + joint taxable brokerage accounts; Traditional, Roth + rollover IRAs.||Single + joint taxable brokerage. Roth, traditional, rollover + SEP IRA. Trust. Business accounts.|
|Promotions||Free management fee promotion in effect (time limited)||N/A||Ongoing free investment management.|
Go directly to the robo-advisor websites:
Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in New Hampshire and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.
Disclosure: Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.