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Fidelity moving jobs out of base in Boston

Company emphasizes ‘geographic diversification’ as a key to success

By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / July 21, 2011

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Fidelity Investments, which recently announced plans to shutter its Marlborough facility, is also moving scores of jobs out its base in Boston to other states as it continues to spread its operations across the country.

Specifically, Fidelity plans to move between 80 and 100 jobs in its pricing and cash management services unit from offices on the South Boston Waterfront to Texas and New Hampshire by the end of next year, according to Fidelity employees in the unit or with direct knowledge of the plans. The financial services giant is also considering moving some of its attorneys and other professional staffers to other locations across the country to be closer to the business units they support. It’s possible additional jobs could be moved out of Boston as well.

A company spokesman declined to say precisely how many jobs are moving from Boston, where the company has more than 7,000 employees.

“Fidelity is a large company with many different business units,’’ said Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio. “Our businesses are actively managed, and we often have employees moving from one location to another.’’

Fidelity has been reducing its Massachusetts workforce for years, seeking to diversify its locations as a way to attract talent, reduce operating costs, and take advantage of government incentive packages offered in Texas, Rhode Island, North Carolina, and other states. It also has operations in several foreign countries, including Canada, Ireland, and India.

“Our geographic diversification has been one of the keys to our success,’’ said Ronald O’Hanley, one of the company’s highest ranking executives, at a recent hearing on Beacon Hill on the decision to close the Marlborough location.

The company has more than 8,000 jobs in Massachusetts, down from about 13,000 in 2006. But Fidelity announced plans in March to cut 1,100 jobs in Marlborough by the end of next year. Most of those jobs are moving to Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and other states, though some jobs will probably be eliminated.

Since then, Fidelity has advised both city and state officials that it plans to cut additional jobs in Massachusetts. But Fidelity also assured officials that the firm remains committed to the Bay State and that the moves will only affect a relatively small portion of its overall workforce. Indeed, Fidelity has posted 139 job openings for Massachusetts on its website, more than for any other location. And it plans to keep its headquarters in Boston.

“They have a very significant presence in Massachusetts, and they intend to continue that,’’ said Greg Bialecki, the state’s secretary of housing and economic development, yesterday. Bialecki said he did not know exactly how many jobs Fidelity is moving out of Boston.

State Treasurer Steven Grossman expressed outrage that the company was continuing to move jobs out of state. Fidelity currently manages $9 billion in short-term deposits for the state and municipalities, as well as a portion of the state pension investment. “The decision by Fidelity Investments to eliminate additional jobs in Massachusetts,’’ Grossman said in a statement, “calls into question the firm’s commitment to the economic health and well-being of the Commonwealth and its citizens.’’

Grossman said the company assured the state it planned to maintain a strong corporate presence in Boston when it announced plans to close its Marlborough location. “Clearly, that is not the case,’’ Grossman said.

Fidelity is not the only financial services company cutting jobs in Massachusetts. On Tuesday, State Street Corp. announced plans to cut 850 technology jobs, including 558 in Massachusetts. Bank of America is eliminating or moving 150 jobs from Malden. And People’s United Bank is cutting 91 jobs as part of its acquisition of Danversbank this month.

But other firms are expanding. For instance, Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the world’s largest custodial bank, recently promised to add nearly 400 jobs in Westborough. Overall employment in the state’s finance and insurance industry is essentially unchanged from a year ago, but has declined by more than 14,000, or about 8 percent, since its peak in 2007 before the recession, according to state employment statistics.

Fidelity has cut one-fifth of its global workforce in the past four years. It now has 37,000 employees worldwide.

Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com.


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