Fidelity Robo Advisor Review & Performance February 2021

Posted on February 22, 2021

Fidelity Go is a compelling robo advisor that ranks well across multiple categories. It benefits from a track record of strong performance, while also shining in the categories of financial planning and costs. Its website offers a set of tools that make planning accessible to all investors. Fidelity Go’s portfolio is constructed entirely of proprietary Fidelity Flex mutual funds with no expense ratio, which brings the total cost down to be a competitive offering.

Fidelity Go has two service levels; one is purely digital and the other is a hybrid offering with access to live advisors. For investors looking for account-specific advice and financial planning, Fidelity’s hybrid robo solution, called Personalized Planning and Advice, combines Fidelity Go tools with live advisors.  Although it lacks some features like automated tax-loss harvesting, Fidelity has a quality and comprehensive platform, low all-in costs, and a history of strong returns.

Pros

  • No account minimum for the Digital plan
  • Access to an advisor with the Premium plan
  • Direct indexing offered
  • Robust digital financial planning tools

Cons

  • Advisors are not CFP® certified
  • No dedicated advisor

Performance Summary: (as of 12/31/20)

YTD 1-Year 2-Year 3-Year 4-Year
Fidelity Go #N/A 0.1155 0.1529 0.0824 0.1001
Rank vs Benchmark* ---/0 38/65 22/42 9/26 3/13

Additional Returns: (as of 12/31/20)

0 YTD 1-Year 2-Year 3-Year 4-Year
Equity-Only Return #N/A 0.1509 0.2119 0.1046 0.1338
Fixed Income-Only Return #N/A 0.0314 0.052 0.0367 0.0411
vs. Normalized Benchmark #N/A -0.0272 -0.015 -0.0059 -0.0045
Sharpe Ratio 0.60 0.91 0.53 0.74

Platform Facts: (as of 12/31/20)

Category Information
Account Minimum Digital Only: No Minimum; Personalized Planning & Advice: $25,000
Advisory Fee Digital Only: for balances less than $10,000 there is no fee, for balances between $10,000 - $49,999.99 it is $3/mo, for balances $50,000 and above it is 0.35% annually. Personalized Planning & Advice: 0.50% annually
Average Weighted Expense Ratio 0

*The Normalized Benchmark is a method of comparing each account against a comparable asset allocation. Details can be found here.

Digital Advice Ratings: (Winter 2021 Robo Ranking)

Access to Advisors (3/5)

Clients can upgrade to the Personalized Planning and Advice level, but the fees jump to 0.50%, and the minimum increases from $10 to $25,000. This 0.50% fee and increased minimum, although not the lowest on the market, is competitive with other “hybrid-advice” offerings. With this higher-tier service, account holders can work with an advisor to address investment and planning needs that are not covered by Fidelity Go’s digital tools.

Financial Planning (4.5/5)

Fidelity scores very high in regards to financial planning tools.  Clients can independently model different goals and consider multiple variables, such as retirement spending and college tuition expenses.  Clients are only able to build single goal plans, which come with “what-if” scenario testing, and retirement plans do incorporate both Social Security assumptions and additional retirement income, such as a pension or annuity.

Transparency and Conflicts (3/5)

Fidelity provides access to both traditional and blended benchmarks to assess performance.  It does provide white papers detailing the investment strategy, but does not detail the performance of its models online.  Portfolio models are visible before account opening, based on the planning goal and results of the risk tolerance questionnaire.  Fidelity invests its clients’ portfolios in proprietary Fidelity Flex mutual funds. However, these funds do have 0.00% expense ratios, which keep costs to a minimum. 

Features & Customer Experience (2.5/5)

Fidelity is average in regards to features and customer experience.  It offers cash management features, invests in fractional shares, and allocates portions of a portfolio to tax-efficient investments.  It does not provide dividend reinvestment to rebalance the portfolio or offer tax-loss harvesting.

When assessing customer experience, Fidelity does have a mobile app and educational material available for clients interested in financial planning and investment topics.  It also provides the ability to include outside accounts for a holistic financial picture but does not provide flexibility for clients with current positions that are concentrated or have unrealized taxable gains.

Costs (4/5)

Management Fee Fund Expenses Total Cost
Digital Only Account* $30 $0 $36
Personal Planning & Advice** $50 $0 $50

*Per $10,000 invested. For assets between $10,000 and $50,000, Fidelity Go charges $3/mo for an annual cost of $36 annually.

**Fidelity PPA is not available till $25,000 or more in investment minimum is reached. This is a hypothetical model to display the fee on $10,000 investment for consistency in comparison across providers.

This is the all-in cost for investment management, as the underlying Fidelity Flex funds come with a 0.00% expense ratio.

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