Should you use Fidelity Brokerage Link?
If you work for a local hospital or university such as Beaumont or U of M and have Fidelity as your 403(b) or 457 plan, you may have heard other co-workers brag about their ‘investments.’ ‘Investments’ you’ve never heard of because they are not listed anywhere on your statement. That is because they’ve gone beyond the ‘core’ investment options and accessed the BrokerageLink® feature within your plan. So, what exactly is Fidelity BrokerageLink® and is it right for you?
When you signed up for your 403(b), you were instantly given the ability to choose from a menu of ‘core’ investment options. However, your plan was also designed to give people expanded choice if they felt they either wanted or needed a more customized approach. This is the heart of BrokerageLink®
Fidelity BrokerageLink® integrated brokerage services combines the convenience of your workplace retirement plan account with the additional flexibility of a brokerage account. It gives you expanded investment choices and the opportunity to more actively manage your retirement contributions.*
Broader Choice Fidelity BrokerageLink® provides you with the opportunity to select from thousands of mutual funds—beyond the fund options offered directly through your employer’s retirement plan. It allows you to invest in a broad range of funds available through Fidelity and FundsNetwork® mutual fund brokerage services, depending on the guidelines set by your employer and noted in your plan’s BrokerageLink fact sheet.*
In addition to the ability to select from a much wider range of investment choices, BrokerageLink® accounts can be professionally managed by approved Registered Investment Advisors. If you don’t have the time or temperament to manage the account, consider engaging a financial advisor to help.
How Mission Point uses BrokerageLink® for our clients.
We leverage the BrokerageLink® feature to access the vast resources via Fidelity to build more custom portfolios. Sure, there are plenty of great options within the core plan, but the fact is the not one single fund family, including Fidelity, is the single best option for every asset class. Also, there may be asset classes and investments not available within the core holdings. For example, if you want to invest areas such as biotechnology funds, emerging countries like China or India, or small health care funds, you may have to access these via BrokerageLink®
Since, many of our clients trust us to manage their 457 or 403(b) accounts, access to a brokerage window such as BrokerageLink® greatly enhances our ability to add value to their plan.
Key Considerations before signing up for BrokerageLink®
The following are some additional considerations to make before opening a BrokerageLink® account:
- Beware the ‘Paradox of Choice’ – The value in choice can be a double-edged sword. With thousands of funds to choose from, we love and value the ability to custom design portfolios earmarked to specific goals. However, for individual investors not accustomed to researching and analyzing options, this ‘choice’ can become overwhelming. This is why we recommend only using BrokerageLink® if you have extended experience managing your own investments or are working with a professional.
- Fees – Transaction fees or account maintenance fees may be different for BrokerageLink® accounts than your primary retirement account. As always, a careful analysis of the value versus the cost is important before moving forward.
- Ease of Rebalancing – Within most standard 403(b) and 457 plans, there are usually options to automate the rebalancing of the account. With a BrokerageLink® account, the rebalancing will be completely up to you or your financial advisor. If you have the account professionally managed, this is may be a benefit because you have more control over what triggers a rebalance.
- Time – Do you have the time to open a BrokerageLink® account, create an asset allocation starting with a blank slate, and monitor the account for rebalancing opportunities or needed investment changes? If not, consider engaging a financial advisor to help
If you have questions about hot to open a Fidelity Brokerage Link account or our services within in your retirement plan or whether it is right for you, please reach out to us for a no-hassle, no pressure evaluation of your options.