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Schwab Vs Fidelity: Which is Better? PillarWM

Fidelity and Charles Schwab are two of the world’s biggest investment firms. By the end of 2019, Charles Schwab has 12.3 million active brokerage accounts and client assets worth $4.04 trillion. Fidelity is even bigger, with 30.8 million brokerage accounts and total customer assets worth $7.3 trillion (as of 31st March 2020). The two companies share certain commonalities. For instance, both Schwab and Fidelity offer advisor-assisted and automated accounts, trusts, IRAs, and education plans. Nevertheless, in the debate on Schwab vs Fidelity, we cannot ignore the differences in account offerings, fee structure, investment products, etc. If you are a high net worth investor then we invite you to  learn much more about high net worth investment strategies for portfolios with $5million to $500 million in liquid investment assets by requesting a free copy of our book 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax and Financial Planning .

We Are Different Because We Are Laser Focused On Helping You Achieve Financial Serenity Through Our Proven Comprehensive Goals-Based Planning & Investing Strategies.

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Founder & Managing Member Pillar Wealth Management
Founder & Managing Member Pillar Wealth Management
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Investors who have already established accounts at Fidelity or Charles Schwab (or both) can also benefit significantly from the services offered by Pillar Wealth Management. One reason for this is that at Pillar Wealth Management, we utilize Fidelity and Charles Schwab to custody our clients’ money. As a result, if you have a Fidelity or Charles Schwab account, it remains unchanged. You maintain access to that money, and your bank accounts and debit/credit cards are not altered in any way.All your historical data and cost base information are preserved as you transition to a new wealth advisor. We are merely granted access to manage your Fidelity or Schwab accounts.

Moreover, this arrangement allows you to avoid such things as ACAT and IRA-to-IRA transfers as you transition to a new wealth advisor. If you want to learn more about our services, schedule a day and time with us now!We focus on providing personalized and customized services that ensure financial serenity.Click here to schedule a free meeting and start availing our comprehensive financial services today!

What Is the Difference Between Charles Schwab and Fidelity?

As investing and trading platforms, Fidelity and Charles Schwab are quite similar fundamentally. Both are well-known brokerage houses with a long history of personal advising, retail services, and financial management.

Both companies have launched online trading platforms in the form of websites and apps. Moreover, both provide full-service platforms with a number of assets and comprehensive information available to traders.

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the similarities and differences between the two.

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Schwab Vs Fidelity – Usability

Charles Schwab offers two trading platforms. The first one is known as Schwab.com, and the second one is known as StreetSmart Edge. The company makes it simple to open and fund an account, and you can do so online through the mobile app, via phone, or by visiting any one of its branches.

On the other hand, Fidelity has three platforms: the Fidelity Mobile App, Active Trader Pro, and a web version. Opening an account is fairly easy, and you will have to fill out paperwork to allow features such as options trading and margin.

Fidelity and Schwab offer considerably easy-to-navigate websites with filtering tools, news, portfolio analysis, basic order tickers, and educational tools. The mobile apps for both are quite useful. However, like many broker-supported apps, they have limited functionality compared to the standard platforms.

Schwab vs Fidelity – Services and Features

Both Fidelity and Schwab have a slight edge on the other when it comes to certain niche asset classes. For instance, Fidelity allows for direct forex trading, which isn’t supported by Charles Schwab. On the other hand, Charles Schwab allows for trading in futures and Bitcoin, which isn’t supported by Fidelity. Nevertheless, it’s improbable that this will have any impact whatsoever on the average investor, as both foreign currencies and futures are high-risk and volatile asset categories that attract few investors. Read our guide to find out why taking too much risk can be devastating for an investment portfolio.

Both Fidelity and Schwab allow investors to find trading information such as critical statistics, technical indicators, and price history going back for the lifetime of any specific asset.

Lastly, Fidelity and Schwab somewhat differ in the account types they have. Particularly, Schwab doesn’t support various retirement accounts such as money market funds, CDs, and annuities. However, it supports regular retirement accounts like IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k)s.

Schwab Vs Fidelity –Account Minimums

Both Schwab and Fidelity have account minimums of $0. However, Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice requires an account minimum of $25,000. On the other hand, you need to have an account minimum of $5,000 for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and $25,000 for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium.

Schwab Vs Fidelity – Costs and Fees

Like many brokers, Fidelity and Schwab have $0 commissions for options (both have a fee of $0.65 per contract), online equity, ETF, and OTCBB trades for customers based in the US. Moreover, you will have to pay approximately $50 with Fidelity and Schwab to trade mutual funds that are not on the platform’s no-fee list.

Broker-assisted orders are $32.95 with Fidelity and $25 with Schwab. Moreover, for automated accounts, Fidelity charges a fee that goes up to 0.35%, whereas Schwab charges a fee that ranges between $0 to $30.

Both Fidelity and Schwab generate interest income from the difference between what they earn on customer balances and what you are paid on your idle cash. With both brokers, you can move your cash to a money market fund to receive a higher rate of interest.

Both brokers have stock loan programs where you can share the revenue generated by lending stocks kept in your account to other hedge funds or traders. However, only Fidelity allows you to pick which stocks to loan.

Keep in mind that costs and fees can have a significant impact on your investment performance. Read our guide Improving Portfolio Performance to find out more on this.

Schwab Vs Fidelity – Portfolio Analysis

Fidelity and Schwab’s portfolio analysis services are quite similar. Both brokers allow you to access real-time purchasing power and margin information, along with real-time realized and unrealized gains. Additionally, both Fidelity and Schwab provide tax reports; however, only Schwab allows you to determine the tax impact of future trades.

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Schwab and Fidelity offer a similar experience in terms of trading, account types, research tools, and customer service. However, their product offerings may vary slightly.

Fidelity and Schwab are among the largest providers of retirement accounts in the US, and both are highly rated. Schwab may have more options, while Fidelity is less expensive.

Schwab is an investment firm but also a full-service bank, offering checking and savings accounts, home loans, credit cards, and borrowing against your portfolio.

Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard, and E*TRADE are often cited as the top brokers in the US, with assets in the trillions of dollars. They may be differentiated by their diversity in product offerings.

Both offer fee-free IRAs, but Schwab offers a wider range of account types and features. Fidelity is the best choice for those in search of less expensive investments.

Schwab's biggest competitors are Blackrock and TIAA, with BlackRock ranking first in product quality, Schwab ranking first in pricing, and TIAA having the highest CEO score (comparably.com).

Fidelity has over 40 million customers, $13.16 trillion in customer assets, and over 57,000 brokers. In contrast, Schwab has $7.13 trillion in customer assets and 33.9 million accounts.

BlackRock, Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are all highly rated. They may not provide the same products; each has its niche where it excels over others.

Schwab IRAs have no fees, no commissions, no minimum contribution amount, and a variety of investment options, including stocks, bonds, CDs, ETFs, and mutual funds.

Fidelity and Schwab Roth IRAs are comparable, with Schwab offering futures as a choice of investment. Both have good customer support. They do not charge fees or have account minimums for their IRAs.

Schwab vs Fidelity

Trade Experience

Both Fidelity and Schwab offer a web-based platform and a desktop app, and both offer a mobile app.

The Fidelity desktop experience includes planning and advice, news, and research. ActiveTrader Pro is Fidelity’s desktop app for smart trading with insights, visuals, monitoring, and generating ideas. You can stay connected to your Fidelity account using Google Assistant or Alexa.

Schwab.com is Schwab’s web-based trading platform, including the All-in-One Trade Ticket for trading multiple products. It provides real-time market data, news, and commentary from experts, as well as research and product comparisons.

The Fidelity mobile app allows you to trade any US stocks and ETFs, track your portfolio, get streaming quotes, and make smarter decisions with trading tools.

With the Schwab mobile app, users can securely access and manage their accounts, place trades, and monitor positions.

Trading Technology

Schwab’s router sends most stock orders to third-party wholesalers, balancing execution quality with the company's cost savings and resulting in a net price improvement of $1.03 per equity order up to 99 shares. For a trade of 1–99 shares, the average execution speed is 0.06 seconds; for more than 99 shares, the speed drops to 0.03 seconds.

Fidelity's order routing technology can access all types of markets, with an average execution speed of 0.08 seconds. The company reports a net price improvement of $1.86 per 100-share equity trade. Fidelity has an average execution speed of 0.08 seconds, and it does not accept payment for order flow for stocks or ETFs.

Fidelity does collect an average of $0.22 per options contract, and Schwab collects $0.60 per contract.


Fidelity’s platform offers research and quotes on all of the company’s investment products.

Fidelity’s Learning Center offers live online webinars, coaching sessions, and weekly classes for beginner traders. Users can access information on personal finance, including managing their money, saving for retirement, and giving to charity. Other content covers investing, investment products, and trading strategies. Fidelity professionals provide insights and commentary on market trends.

Users may sign up for the Fidelity Viewpoints weekly email.

Schwab offers podcasts, a magazine, and Schwab Live Daily, which starts at 10 am ET weekdays and includes live Q&A.

Schwab’s learning content includes articles on the basics of investing, retirement, investment insights, and market commentary from Schwab researchers. Investment insights cover the entire range of the company’s product offerings.

Customer Service

Fidelity’s Virtual Assistant answers investors’ questions 24/7. Users can chat live with the Fidelity support team on weekdays from 8 am to 10 pm ET and on weekends from 9 am to 4 pm ET. Phone numbers are also provided.

At Schwab, the brokerage and banking services can be contacted by phone. Once a customer logs into their account, the “contact us” link connects them to live chat.


Schwab will cover losses in any Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity. The site uses encryption and risk-based security technology. It defends against unauthorized account access through two-factor authorization and automated alerts. Voice ID is available to access an account over the phone.

Fidelity’s Customer Protection Guarantee covers losses from unauthorized activity. Fidelity participates in FDIC and SIPC programs. Accounts are accessed through two-factor authorization and voice. Customers can block electronic movement out of their accounts. Advanced identity protection is offered to Wealth Management clients, including identity theft insurance.

Account Types    

Schwab and Fidelity offer the usual account types, including brokerage accounts, IRAs, 529 accounts, trust and estate accounts, and health savings accounts.

Is Fidelity or Schwab Better?

It’s important to keep in mind that both Charles Schwab and Fidelity offer top-class, full-service investing and trading platforms. So, whether you’re an active investor or hands-off and retirement-focused, you will do greatwith whichever one you pick.

If you’re a casual investor or are just starting out with investing, you will perhaps like Fidelity’s platform more. The design and layout help beginners comprehend their options more easily than Schwab’s, building an environment where you can create an experience as you trade.

If you’re an inexperienced investor thinking, “Is Charles Schwab good for beginners?” then the answer is perhaps no. In fact, experienced investors are more likely to favor Charles Schwab. It supports a greater level of personalization in data sets and provides a wider range of high-grade analyses that can facilitate your trading. If you really want to get into the depths of the market, you will discover that Charles Schwab has a higher number of tools, especially through StreetSmart.

Importance of Using a Financial Services Company

Some high net worth families and individuals feel unsure when it comes to using a financial services firm. They feel that working with such firms isn’t of any use because all the information they need to make the soundest financial decisions is available online.

If you’re also caught up in the same dilemma, you should ask yourself if you have a comprehensive understanding of the various financial instruments. If the answer is yes, you might not need to work with a financial services firm. However, even if you said yes, you might still be at risk of making fear-driven or unreasonable mistakes when it comes to managing your finances. In fact, here are some situations when you should work with the top financial services companies.

1. You Want to Allocate Your Assets Optimally

Asset allocation is an investment strategy that aims to build the perfect balance between investment risks and returns. This is one of the essential services offered by the largest financial services firms to enhance their client’s investment returns.

Financial services firms that have in-depth insights into high-value assets and who understand the goals of wealthy investors can help improve your portfolio to attain the highest level of returns. Asset allocation allows you to stay on track with your financial objectives and also helps protect your assets from market volatility and risks. In our free hardcover book, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates – Strategies for Families Worth $25 Million To $500 Million, we discuss more about the importance of asset allocation.

2. You Want to Minimize Your Risks

Another reason why you should use a financial services company is because of the risk management services they provide. The experts at such a firm can help you determine if your assets are appropriately allocated and diversified to secure your wealth from market unpredictability. In addition, they can even help you sign up for the most appropriate insurance plan to keep you and your family financially secure if your health worsens. If you want to get more information on how you can protect your wealth from risks and taxes, request a free copy of our new book, 7 Secrets to High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax and Financial Planning For Families With Liquid Investable Portfolios Between $5 Million and $500 Million.

Why You Should Enlist Pillar Wealth Management

Financial services companies can assist you in achieving your short and long-term financial targets. Nevertheless, affluent families and individuals can considerably benefit from working with a wealth manager.

Here are some reasons highlighting why you should choose Pillar Wealth Management for all your financial needs.

1. Experience

Experience is vital when determining the credibility and reliability of a financial firm, as this is what helps them understand what wealthy investors actually need. Our wealth managers have a combined experience of more than six decades in helping affluent clients accomplish their financial and investment goals. This experience aids us in expanding our knowledge base and improving the services we offer. Click here to speak to our wealth managers today!

2. Personalized Wealth Management and Financial Strategies

We offer personalized financial strategies and plans that are aligned with our client’s investment portfolios and unique requirements. Our approach is quite different from that of major Wall Street firms who have a standard one-size-fits-all approach for all their clients.

We know the value of assessing every client individually and providing tailored financial solutions to facilitate them in accomplishing their objectives. In fact, we only onboarded 17 new clients this past year so that we have enough time to curate a tailored financial plan for every client.

3. Number of Services

We specialize in offering a number of services that exceed those provided by other financial firms. These entail services such as legacy and estate planning, wealth transfer, insurance planning, etc.

With our services, you can achieve a number of goals, such as funding charitable organizations, leaving behind a significant inheritance, and living a peaceful retirement. Click here to schedule a free meeting and start availing our comprehensive financial services today!

Wrapping Up!

Investors who need help with wealth, financial, retirement, or investment planning often reach out to us at Pillar Wealth Management. These individuals trust us because of our vast experience in assisting high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals.

Our goal is to remain upfront and transparent about our fees as we don’t want to burden our clients with any kind of hidden charges. We even offer tailored advice for every client we take up. This is because we know that every client that we serve has a different financial background and needs. Please schedule a special preliminary meeting with one of our wealth managers to find out how you can get started with investing the right way.

To be 100% transparent, we published this page to help filter through the mass influx of prospects, who come to us through our website and referrals, to gain only a handful of the right types of new clients who wish to engage us.

We enjoy working with high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors and families who want what we call financial serenity – the feeling that comes when you know your finances and the lifestyle you desire have been secured for life, and that you don’t have to do any of the work to manage and maintain it because you hired a trusted advisor to take care of everything.

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