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pharmfixer (< 20)

Insulting Fidelity Promotion



May 06, 2011 – Comments (9)

Not sure if this is the proper area but I wanted to try and get some feedback.  I recently received by mail an offer from Fidelity, our brokerage house. The card offered 200 free trades worth 7.95 each in return for opening a new account with $100K or transfering $100K to an exsisting Fidelity account.  That is almost $1600 worth of trading. In my own case it would reflect a lifetime of free trading.  Yet they still want to charge the rest of us 7.95 per trade. I could see maybe 5-10 free trades to entice a new client, but 200 trades worth $1600 ???  The fees we pay go to cover the free trades given away to new clients.  To cap everything else, we transfered $100K from an outside 401K into one of our accounts in December. The offer from Fidelity was new or transfer $100K  Today I get a letter stating that we do not qualify but "AS A ONE TIME GESTURE" here are 10 free trades. They expire Dec 31st.  So I dont know if I am justified in feeling angry and insulted about the situation. I wanted to see what my Fellow Fools thought.

9 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 06, 2011 at 4:55 PM, TMFAleph1 (91.88) wrote:

Threaten to pull your account and see how they respond. That always works with telephony/ cable providers.

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#2) On May 06, 2011 at 5:12 PM, mtf00l (46.51) wrote:

I presume you transfered into a 401K at Fidelity,...

Fidelity wants liquid capital free of 401K intanglements.

At least you got 10 free! =D

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#3) On May 06, 2011 at 5:15 PM, amassafortune (29.12) wrote:

I've used a pretty good variety of brokerages and banks over the years and none are consistently customer-focused. Every internal sales promotion has parameters. These are used to reward the account managers and they are expected to perform given the incentive (temporary loss of revenue to the company) in order for the longer-term rewards to be met.

I did some data mining work in my past that included confirming the benefits of programs like this to answer questions like.. Which sales people met their goals and will get the stated reward of the program? How many customers were contacted? How many "bit" on the first pass? How many bit on the follow-up? What was the total cost and payback of the promotion and how did results compare to the pre-promotion estimates? Break down each of theses answers by region, account type, account size categories, sales rep, local manager, regional manager, account type IRA/Roth/individual, and trading frequency patterns.

It may be cynical, but most businesses are in business to extract the maximum profit out of your business. That leads to supersizing, 2-fers, bogos (buy one get one), happy hours, bulk packaging, fancy packaging, rebates, loyalty points. 

In your case, your $100K transfer falls outside the parameters of the promotion and there is no reward to the business, account rep, branch manager, or regional manager. So, to give you those trades, the cost would probably have to hit another sales internal budget - which is where your 10 trades will be charged to - some miscelaneous code used to waive transactions fees for normal customer customer complaint resolutions. 

Remember, 1/3 of a year has passed since you transferred the money - that's two business quarters and probably a different fiscal year. You can be disappointed that your timing did not match the promotion, but anger and feeling insulted is too strong a reaction in my opinion.

In the future, anytime you have a large purchase, it usually pays to call and ask about upcoming promotions. Call places you don't even intend to use before calling the business you expect to use. You always have better negotiating leverage until the money changes hands. 

I once worked with a guy who was working his way through school after a broker churned away his college money and much of his mother's savings. His father, who died a few years earlier, left the bulk of the estate in an account with one of those mahogany / walnut guys with the commercials that focus on trust. This was before many of today's modern fiduciary responsibility safeguards were in place. Anyway, that's  when you are justified to feel angry, insulted, and betrayed. In your case, I'd take the 10 trades and make them good ones.    

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#4) On May 06, 2011 at 5:24 PM, rd80 (96.83) wrote:

WellsTrade and Bank of America's MerrillEdge both offer free trades (100/yr for Wells and 30/month for MerrillEdge) for customers with over $25k in account balances.   I'd tell Fidelity their options are to match that or transfer the account.

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#5) On May 06, 2011 at 5:26 PM, ikkyu2 (98.49) wrote:

I don't think you should feel insulted or angry.  You should just decide whether you want to continue giving your business to Fidelity or not.

I use Fidelity and feel I get great value for what I pay for.  If you feel differently and think you could improve, move your assets somewhere else.  Then quit thinking about it.

By the way, it's a violation of Federal law to somehow 'transfer' the costs associated with retirement-account transactions to money that's outside the retirement account, so that may be why you did not qualify.  For instance, since I am limited in the amount I can get into my IRA every year, I would prefer to pay commissions on IRA trades from cash held outside the IRA.  However, that's directly prohibited. 

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#6) On May 06, 2011 at 9:03 PM, L0RDZ (87.95) wrote:


TRY Scot trade....    let me know I'll get like 5 trades for  referral...

 and I think you'll  get some free trades as well...



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#7) On May 06, 2011 at 11:02 PM, EvilEmpire (29.12) wrote:

Hey dummy, 

Those 200 free trades that are you whining about expire after 90 days. You are actually getting the better deal with 10 free trades until the end of the year since by your own admission you consider 200 trades a lifetime's worth.

Now go play with your penny stocks and get a clue.


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#8) On May 07, 2011 at 4:12 PM, cthomas1017 (98.81) wrote:

Wow, evilempire.  Pretty angry guy, aren't we?  Let's try to be a little more informative and a little less egotistical?  I realize that I'm not so nearly perfect as a sharp and intelligent person such as yourself, but if we're really that awfully stupid, perhaps mensa has a website where you can feast with your own intellectual giants.

 (PS: Don't bother responding to my comments here.  I won't be back to enjoy them.) :p 

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#9) On May 08, 2011 at 2:14 PM, pharmfixer (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I appreciate most of the comments. I was confused as to how to react to the promo. We opened a new Fidelity IRA and moved   105K  from a company sponsored 401K over in December, which was outside the time frame of the promotion by a few weeks.. Then in January we did a total reallocation of all our accounts. 31 sells and 52 buys. So it cost us several hundred dollars in trading fees, which I paid and considered fair. Then I received the 200 free trades special in the mail. Probably was more frustration at my bad timing than anything else. I think that I would not be quite so hypersensitive if the timing had not been quite so soon after paying for the services that were now being offered for free, three times over.  I dont like to pay for something that other people get for free. Is that just a personal issue that I need to work on or is it valid? Perhaps it is not wise to use the free trades as a new account enticements. Maybe a ride in the corporate jet, but the $1600 in free trades is over the top and inappropriate from my perspective.  In closing I would like to ask EvilEmpire to look inward a little bit and try to find the cause for your mean spriited reply. Sounds like you may be dealing with a touch of insecurity. Now I guess I better go back to my pennystocks before you get upset again. Thanks for everyones Foolish opinions.


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