Fidelity Investments said it added five countries and five currencies in its online international investing service.

And, for the first time, it will allow retail investors to trade directly in foreign markets. In the past, this had been restricted to active traders and wealthy individuals.

Fidelity, which provides investors direct access to foreign markets and currencies, added these countries and their currencies:

  • Mexico; Peso (MXN)
  • New Zealand; New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Singapore; Singapore Dollar (SGD)
  • Sweden; Krona (SEK)
  • Switzerland; Swiss Franc (CHF)

Fidelity now allows online customers to trade in 17 large markets, including:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Customers can trade and settle in any of 13 currencies, including:

  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • British Pound (GBP)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • Euro (EUR)
  • Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • Mexican New Peso (MXN)
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Norwegian Krone (NOK)
  • Singapore Dollar (SGD)
  • Swedish Krona (SEK)
  • Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • U.S. Dollar (USD)

In addition, all of Fidelity's retail brokerage customers can now register online to trade directly in international markets, the investment services firm and mutual fund developer said. Previously, only Fidelity’s active traders and high-net-worth investors had access to these capabilities.

Fidelity’s launched international investing online in 2009. In addition to direct access to the 17 foreign markets and 13 currencies, Fidelity customers also can benefit from more than 1,400 mutual funds and 250 exchange-traded funds with international securities exposure, through Fidelity’s international trading service.

“Customers can benefit not only from the increased choices, but also from Fidelity’s low commissions, the ability to trade foreign and domestic securities from a single brokerage account, and the flexibility to execute foreign trades using U.S. dollars or in the stock’s local currency,” said James C. Burton, president of Fidelity’s retail brokerage business. 

Tom Steinert-Threlkeld writes for Securities Technology Monitor.