According to a press release, the program has three main components:
- A dedicated team of more than 100 fixed income specialists who are available to work with investors over the phone to address more complex fixed income needs;
- A new online fixed income resource center with interactive content that can help investors determine an appropriate mix of fixed income investments for their time horizon and risk tolerance; and
- Educational seminars, including “Demystifying Bond Selection for Your Portfolio”, that are offered at no cost at Fidelity’s 131 Investor Centers nationwide.
“As market volatility has settled down, and rates for Treasuries and CDs have continued to fall, we’ve seen our customers show an increased interest in individual bonds and bond funds for the potential higher returns and the diversification benefits these products can bring to their portfolios,” said Richard Carter, vice president in Fidelity’s retail brokerage business, in the announcement.
Fidelity said that in the first six months of 2009, Fidelity retail customers’ assets in corporate bonds increased by 24% and their assets in municipal bonds increased 7%. In addition, Fidelity’s overall bond fund assets increased by nearly 17% in the first six months of 2009.
Fidelity has also seen an increase in investor questions about fixed income, with calls increasing more than 20% during the first half of 2009, compared to one year ago. In response, Fidelity has made available members of its team of more than 100 fixed income specialists to speak with customers by phone.
For investors with more complex fixed income needs, Fidelity’s specialists can conduct a portfolio analysis to alert them if their fixed income investments are over-weighted around a particular maturity date, industry, or credit rating. Specialists also can assist customers in rebalancing their portfolios with fixed income products that would complement their overall investment strategy.
Fidelity's new fixed income guidance program also includes an online resource center that has interactive functionality enabling customers to specify their time horizon and risk tolerance, and then see the fixed-income investments that may be appropriate for them. Customers can then link to more in-depth research to learn more and decide if the suggested products are appropriate for them, according to a press release.
Target asset mixes for different investment strategies also are outlined on the resource center. These include mixes that range from conservative, balanced, and growth to more aggressive growth models. The center also includes market research on timely fixed-income topics, and a link to Fidelity's Portfolio Review tool, which can help customers create a personalized investment strategy.
The online resource center is available at www.fidelity.com/fixedincomechoices . Customers can use the information they receive on the resource center about the types and behaviors of different fixed-income products to begin building a bond ladder with Fidelity's Bond Ladder Tool, available on the Open Bond Market - Fidelity's resource on selecting and trading bonds.
Fidelity said it also offers a number of free seminars on fixed-income related topics at its 131 Investor Centers nationwide. In its seminar entitled "Demystifying Bond Selection for Your Portfolio," customers can learn more about a range of fixed-income investing strategies and approaches, from selecting a bond to building a bond ladder, the press release said. The seminar, "Fundamentals of Retirement Income Planning," provides information about how fixed-income products, among other investments, are integral to a well-diversified retirement income plan.
A schedule of seminars and registration information is available at www.fidelity.com/seminars .
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