Fidelity Robo Advisor Review & Performance

Posted on November 9, 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

Returns and Portfolio Information

  • Performance data for this robo advisor can be found here.
  • Fees, minimums, and other portfolio information can be found here.

Digital Advice Ratings: (Summer 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)

The all-in cost for investment management is particularly low as the underlying Fidelity Flex funds come with a 0.00% expense ratio. For balances under $10,000, there is also no management fee to use Fidelity Go’s digital-only robo advisor. Meanwhile, for balances above $50,000, the management fee is 0.35%. These fees make Fidelity Go nearly free for an investor who is just getting started while the service is still competitively priced for those with more considerable sums.

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