If your employer plan offers it, you’ll gain access to many more mutual funds and possibly an adviser.
If you are one of the many employees with a 401(k) or other plan held at Fidelity Investments, I suggest you read on. If your plan is held elsewhere (such as Charles Schwab), you may also have a similar self-directed option to investigate (called PCRA at Schwab).
Fidelity BrokerageLink® allows you to go beyond the traditional funds offered in your employer plan by giving you access to thousands of mutual funds. Not all plans contain this account feature, so check with your employer or Plan Document to be sure. Also, a self-directed account is not for everyone. It can involve additional risks and transaction fees, and not all types of securities are available.
According to Fidelity, they work with over 140,000 Financial Advisers and more than 5,000 investment firms. This might be helpful if you are looking to have someone help you manage your retirement plan. The adviser needs to be registered with and have been approved by Fidelity. If you have an IRA or other managed investment account, adding this feature may lead to better coordination of your overall investment strategy.
The other great news is that many employers allow the BrokerageLink® application to be completed online. You typically need the 401(k) Plan Number, Plan Name and Trustee (usually Fidelity’s ‘FMTC’). Once activated, you will need to sell the amount of current mutual funds you wish to self-direct and then ‘buy BrokerageLink®’ with the proceeds. Some plans put a limit on how much of your total account value can be moved (for example – some limit you to no more than 50%).
Fidelity BrokerageLink® just might give your 401(k) an edge and a little more bandwidth as you build your retirement nest egg.