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How Does Fidelity Make Money? A Closer Look at Their Money-Making Tactics

Fidelity Investments, a well-established name in the investment industry, has gained a strong reputation for its commitment to providing customers with a wide range of investment options and financial services without charging any fees or commission. 

Many wonder how Fidelity manages to be profitable while offering what seems like a too-good-to-be-true deal. 

In this article, we will peel back the curtain and explore how does Fidelity make money and strategies that allow Fidelity to generate income without burdening its clients.

How does Fidelity make money?

Fidelity’s Revenue Sources

Fidelity employs several innovative approaches to monetize its services, allowing it to maintain a sustainable business model while offering commission-free trading to its customers.

Interest on Cash Holdings

One of the ways Fidelity makes money is through the interest it earns on the cash held in custody for its customers. 

Fidelity acts as a custodian for its clients’ cash, ensuring it remains secure and easily accessible. 

While most brokerages sweep idle cash into low-yield accounts, Fidelity maximizes its revenue by investing these funds in short-term instruments, earning interest on behalf of its clients. 

This strategy allows Fidelity to capitalize on the cash it holds in custody, turning it into a lucrative revenue stream.

How Does Fidelity Make Money? Complete Guide

Stock Loans to Short-Sellers

Another key source of revenue for Fidelity is its stock lending program. Fidelity lends shares from its clients’ portfolios to traders who engage in short-selling, where they bet on a stock’s price decline. 

By charging interest on these stock loans, Fidelity is able to generate additional income. 

The loans are collateralized, ensuring the safety of the underlying assets and minimizing risk exposure for Fidelity and its clients.

Price Improvement

Fidelity’s commitment to its customers extends to optimizing trade execution prices. 

The company goes above and beyond to ensure the best possible price for its clients’ trades, a concept known as price improvement. 

By leveraging its advanced technology and execution capabilities, Fidelity consistently seeks out opportunities to achieve better prices. 

When Fidelity secures a price lower than the prevailing market price for a buy order or higher for a sell order, it retains a portion of the price improvement as revenue. 

This practice not only benefits Fidelity by generating income but also adds value to its customers’ investment returns.

Portfolio Margining

Fidelity also utilizes a strategy known as portfolio margining. Through portfolio margin accounts, Fidelity consolidates multiple positions and assesses the risk involved collectively, rather than on an individual basis. 

By doing so, Fidelity can allocate capital more efficiently, reducing margin requirements for eligible customers. 

The resulting reduction in margin can lead to increased trading activity, benefiting both Fidelity and its customers. 

This approach allows Fidelity to generate income by leveraging its customers’ trading activities while simultaneously providing them with a more favorable margining system.

Partnership and Collaboration

In addition to its internal revenue channels, Fidelity forms strategic partnerships to further enhance its profitability.

Geode Capital Management

Fidelity Investments maintains a close relationship with Geode Capital Management, a subsidiary of the company. 

Geode oversees the management of Fidelity’s index funds and leverages its expertise to ensure efficient operations.

While Fidelity offers its index funds with no management fees, it receives a fee from these funds’ underlying securities lending program. 

This collaboration with Geode Capital Management provides an additional revenue stream for Fidelity.

Stock Loan Programs

Fidelity’s stock loan programs also contribute to its overall profitability. When Fidelity lends shares to short-sellers, it shares a portion of the stock loan income with its account holders

This arrangement allows Fidelity to generate revenue while ensuring that its customers benefit from the lending program as well.

Clearing Fees for Options Trades

Fidelity charges clearing fees for options trades, contributing to its revenue generation. Clearing fees cover the costs associated with executing and facilitating options trades. 

While Fidelity has eliminated commissions on equity trades, the charging of clearing fees for options trades allows the company to cover its operational expenses and continue offering commission-free trading on other types of investments.

Extended Services and Premium Offerings

While Fidelity provides commission-free trading to its customers as a core offering, it also offers additional services and premium features that come with associated fees.

These options cater to customers who desire more advanced research tools, enhanced support, or access to specialized investment products. 

By providing these extended services and premium offerings, Fidelity taps into a segment of the market willing to pay for added convenience and features. 

These fees help balance the costs associated with providing commission-free trading to the broader customer base.


Pros and Cons of Fidelity


  • Commission-free trading on equity trades
  • Competitive pricing on other investment products
  • Wide range of investment options and financial services
  • Advanced trading technology and execution capabilities
  • Strong track record and reputation in the industry


  • Clearing fees for options trades
  • Limited physical branch network

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Fidelity offer commission-free trades?

Fidelity generates revenue through various means, such as interest on cash holdings, stock loan programs, clearing fees for options trades, strategic partnerships, and extended services with associated fees. These revenue streams enable Fidelity to offer commission-free trades to its customers.

Does Fidelity charge fees for trading?

Fidelity does not charge fees or commission on equity trades. However, customers should note that certain investment products, such as options, may incur clearing fees.

Who owns Fidelity Investments?

Fidelity Investments is a privately-held company, with the Johnson family holding a significant majority stake. The company’s founding family remains actively involved in its management.

How much is Fidelity worth?

As of 2021, Fidelity Investments’ estimated AUM exceeds $9 trillion, cementing its status as one of the largest investment management firms in the world.

Is Fidelity Investments in trouble?

Fidelity Investments maintains a strong financial position and continues to thrive in the investment industry. Its diverse revenue streams and innovative business model contribute to its stability and success.


Fidelity Investments has demonstrated its ability to generate revenue without charging fees or commissions on equity trades. 

Through a combination of strategies such as interest on cash holdings, stock lending programs, price improvement, strategic partnerships, extended services with associated fees, and charging for clearing fees on certain investments, Fidelity optimizes its profitability while providing customers with a valuable investment experience.

By understanding Fidelity’s revenue sources and innovative business model, investors can gain insight into how the company successfully balances profitability and customer-centric offerings. 

Despite the lack of fees and commissions, Fidelity remains a robust and profitable entity in the investment industry, committed to serving the needs of its clients while maintaining its financial stability.