Talent is nurtured at the world’s largest independent investment fund manager, which offers its services to 17m customers worldwide. Fidelity was founded in Boston in 1946 by Edward Johnson and 23 years later, Fidelity International Limited (FIL) was launched in Bermuda. A research subsidiary opened in London and in 1979 the UK arm became a separate company.
The Johnson family has a significant minority stake in the firm, while the majority is owned by senior staff and charities. Johnson’s son, also called Edward, is the chairman, and his daughter, Abigail, is head of Fidelity’s investment management unit in America.
The firm has spread its wings to offer other financial services, including the management of employee benefits, through the internet. Employees are encouraged to buy a stake — 37% were offered the chance last year — while all are encouraged to submit ideas and gain experience by switching departments.
Last year, Fidelity was voted best fund manager in the Reuters survey of European larger companies, and 83% of staff are proud to tell others they work at the firm. There is an atmosphere of hard work (with 84% saying people are willing to give extra to get the job done), but also one of good rewards.
The company’s head office is in landscaped grounds in Tonbridge, Kent, while there is a new base near St Paul’s Cathedral for the 300 London staff.
The company offers flexible work patterns and training is excellent, with 50 hours a year and up to £4,200 per person annually for non-work-related courses. “There’s plenty of room for ideas,” says the company motto. “Step forward and you will be listened to.”
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