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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Ax Falls at Fido

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

The second round of the two-part headcount reduction first announced by Fidelity last fall (see The MFWire, 11/06/08) begins today and will continue over the next several weeks, Fidelity spokeswoman Anne Crowley confirmed to The MFWire. It was not immediately clear which parts of Fidelity are affected by the layoffs.

The Boston Globe reported that the second phase of cuts will likely include employees in Fidelity's FMR Co. investment unit, which houses analysts and portfolio managers. FMR has so far been shielded by past job cuts at Fidelity.

Asked whether analysts and portfolio managers are impacted by the layoffs, Crowley referred to comments made in the fall that the cuts would affect virtually every division at the firm.

She added: "I am not going to discuss specific employee situations around certain individuals other than to note that in the normal course of business, we are always evaluating our needs in the investment management businesses and making decisions around employees and resources accordingly."

Crowley also noted that out of more than 500 analysts Fidelity has globally, more than 200 were added since June 2005, when Fidelity announced it was bolstering its research operations.

In November, Fidelity laid off 1,300 workers (see The MFWire, 11/12/08) and said it plans to cut 1,700 jobs in the first quarter of 2008 (see The MFWire, 11/17/08). The two rounds of cuts affect roughly 7 percent of Fidelity's workforce of 44,400.

"These layoffs and other expense reduction steps we have implemented over the last several months will ensure our company maintains its strong financial status while also continuing to provide our clients and customers with the best products and services," Crowley said in an e-mailed statement. 

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