Fidelity Lets Go 1,700 Employees

September 30, 2002 ( - With a stem-to-stern operational review over, Fidelity Investments is paring its workforce by 5.4%, the Boston financial services company announced.

Monday’s revelation that Fidelity was laying off 1,695 workers follows word in August that the continued pounding the financial sector has been getting prompted the review of all of its units with an eye toward finding any potential cost savings.

According to a Reuters news report, the Fidelity layoffs come as investors are pulling out billions of dollars from stock mutual funds and the average diversified US stock fund fell 24% between January 1 and September 30, 2002.

“These unusual market conditions over the last three years — and the overall deterioration in the economy — placed increased operational pressure on all financial services companies, as well as other industries,” Fidelity said in a statement, contending that the cuts were essential “to ensure that the company continues to be positioned well over the long term,” Reuters said.

Fidelity, whose work force stood at 31,079 before the latest cuts, is one of the biggest employers in Massachusetts, with some 9,800 people at its Boston headquarters.

Fidelity is the latest in a string of firms to slash jobs. Competitors Deutsche Asset Management, Putnam Investments and online broker Charles Schwab also announced big cuts in recent months.