Fidelity Cuts Up American Express Cards

March 15, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Fidelity workers will be leaving home without their American Express cards - a decision that comes just a month after the charge card giant lured away a team of Fidelity money managers.

Fidelity dropped American Express as its vendor for travel services and credit cards after American Express lured the four money managers away to start a rival Boston office, Reuters reported. Fidelity officials insisted the move to switch vendors resulted from an ordinary contract review.

But Fidelity watchers said it’s almost certain that the fund firm — angered by the departures of its fund managers — is retaliating.

“American Express must have understood the potential for some sort of retaliation,’ Jim Lowell, editor of Fidelity Investor, an independent newsletter about Fidelity funds, told Reuters. “Fidelity is not known in the business for being easily cowed.’

An American Express spokeswoman declined comment.

Since the beginning of February, American Express Financial Advisors has hired Fidelity stock pickers Nick Thakore, Douglas Chase, Robert Ewing and Telis Bertsekas for its new Boston operation.

Fidelity officials have insisted they aren’t worried, contending that they still have a sufficient talent reserve of money managers and analysts.

Even though Fidelity employees will no longer leave home with their American Express card, Fidelity brokerage customers still can. A separate Fidelity contract with American Express to offer the card through its brokerage is still intact, Fidelity said.

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