Fidelity is joining a crowded field of IRA promotions, though the firms' offers vary. For example, E–Trade is offering a cash credit of up to $600 for investors who open or transfer an IRA account. Scottrade is offering to reimburse up to $100 in transfer fees if you move an account worth $10,000 or more to the firm.
TD Ameritrade, meanwhile, is offering up to $2,500 to existing customers who transfer $1 million or more. New customers can get up to $600 for transfers of at least $250,000. Other firms are offering promotions on IRA CDs.
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Investors in mutual funds through 401(k) accounts do tend to pay lower fees than investors on average, according to Investment Company Institute data. For example, in 2013, 401(k) investors in equity mutual funds paid an average expense ratio of 0.58 percent, compared to 0.74 percent for all investors.
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Generally, though, the Consumer Federation of America is not concerned about the type of promotions being offered for IRA asset transfers, said Micah Hauptman, financial services counsel at the federation. "We don't have a problem with inducements per se," he said, provided they are not coupled with recommendations for investments that are not in customers' best interest.
Hauptman added that promotions for rollovers of 401(k)s to IRAs could be more concerning because of the cost differences and because assets in 401(k) plans are subject to the fiduciary duty standard.
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