Where it all began
Fidelity International, as we later became known, was established in 1969 as the international investment arm of Fidelity Investments founded by Edward C Johnson 2d in 1946 in Boston. His son, Edward C 'Ned' Johnson 3d, was appointed as Chairman and filled the role for over 45 years.
In the same year our international headquarter was set up in Bermuda, we opened our Tokyo office. Soon after, we were the first asset manager to offer a global equity fund to Japanese retail investors, and, later in the 1970s, the first international asset manager in Japan to launch a Japanese equity fund. Our presence in Japan since 1969 laid the foundation for our on-the-ground expertise in Asia.
Initially established for research purposes, our first office in London quickly evolved. We soon became the first international group to manage authorised unit trusts for clients in the United Kingdom, as well as being able to offer global equities covered from the British financial centre to clients in Japan.
Today London is both our largest research and investment hub, and the UK our biggest market.
Having started and grown our business with distribution partners to this day, we began managing money for institutional investors in the 1970s. A sovereign wealth fund who became our first institutional client in 1976 is still with us today.
In 1980, Fidelity International became independent from US-based Fidelity Investments, and is today owned mainly by management and Johnson family interests. The two companies collaborate on a commercial terms basis when it is in their clients’ interests to do so. Today, our institutional clients also have access to the range of investment strategies of Fidelity Investments and Geode. And there are commercial partnerships designed to evolve Defined Contributions pension service capabilities, working with around 150 common multinational corporate clients.
In 1981 we opened our Hong Kong office, which is today our second largest investment hub, with a focus on investment and research across China and South East Asia.
In the 80s, we first invested on behalf of public and private sector employee pension funds.
We also introduced products and services for private investors for the first time during the second half of the 80s – such as tax-efficient personal investment plans, available in the United Kingdom from 1987.
In 1986, our first office in Taiwan opened its doors.
Since 1988 the Fidelity Foundations have been giving back a portion of our profit to the communities across the globe in which we operate. The foundations' focus is on strengthening not-for-profit organisations which have the potential to make a significant difference in the areas of: improving disadvantaged young people’s chances in life; health innovation; arts and culture. Taking an investment approach to grant making, we fund strong charities where we feel we can add lasting, measurable value. Often this is through major investments in technology or physical infrastructure.
1990 saw the launch of our Luxembourg registered fund range which could accommodate investments in multiple currencies, first making Fidelity funds available to investors across Continental Europe and Asia.
Between 1990 and 2000 we opened thirteen new offices globally: Beside Luxembourg, in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Italy, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, and in Korea.
Our global presence required new ways of coordinating business and, in 1992, we begun the development of a multi-country investor record system known as GFAS. This proved so successful, it was then licensed to other investment managers.
Today, Fidelity is the largest player in the cross-border active equity funds market, distributing investment funds in over 30 countries around the world.
Having managed money for pension funds since the 80s, in 1994 we entered the business of administering as well as managing 'Defined Contributions', which is money paid into individual retirement accounts by employers and employees. Today, over 800 companies in Germany, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom as well as multinationals, trust us with their DC pension assets.
Having established a reputation as one of the major equity fund houses, Fidelity committed to becoming a multi asset manager by building out a Fixed Income team in 1995, which today accounts for one third of our managed assets.
1998 saw the launch of our Personal Investing business to serve Japanese private investors directly. Today, we have direct distribution businesses in Hong Kong, Germany, Japan and the UK.
As the first investment manager to have a website in the UK from 1996, and the first to sell funds online from 1999, we are committed to advancing digital access to fund information and support to make investing as easy as possible for our clients.
As an industry leader in investment technology and infrastructure, we were a founding member of EMX Co, now owned by Euroclear, which established a UK fund order routing system with technology developed by a Fidelity unit.
With the backend infrastructure in place, we focused on the direct client impact of new digital platform trading opportunities, and with FundsNetwork launched our first online fund supermarket in the UK at the turn of the millennium. FundsNetwork gives advisers and private investors access to a wide range of funds from different investment managers. In 2002, FundsNetwork was also launched in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Germany, we acquired one of the top-3 domestic fund platform providers in 2008 to form the fund platform FFB. FFB has also been serving the Austrian market since 2013.
By the mid-2000s, we had further expanded our global presence with new offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Sidney, Brussels and Mumbai.
Our presence in India alone evolved from a two-person office set up in a hotel room to a team 2,400 people strong. Today, India and our operation in China with its more than 400 employees represent the technology backbone of our organisation and the enabler of our mission to deliver innovative client solutions for a better future.
Even through the global Financial Crisis, as markets temporarily took a sharp hit, we kept growing our number of clients who trusted us to preserve and grow their money over the long term. At the peak of the crisis in September 2008 we increased our opening hours to make sure all clients who wanted to get in touch could do so. Fidelity received and dealt with an average of 2,700 calls per day in the UK alone during these weeks.
From 2009, we developed 'Guidance', information that helps investors orient themselves over the long term and in periods of acute volatility. We also started to think about new user requirements around accessing information on their savings and investments, and in 2011 were the first investment manager to launch an iPhone app in the UK, with our other markets swiftly following suit.
In 2008 we also launched "Bricks and Mortar" institutional real estate funds, to complement our existing expertise in equities, fixed income and cash.
Partnering with our clients to identify the right solution for their needs
In 2013 Fidelity International started as a bespoke multi asset solutions design capability for ever more complex institutional client and distribution partner needs in an environment of low interest rates and fragmented distribution regulation.
We pride ourselves on partnering with clients and their advisers to create investment solutions that will help clients to meet their liabilities and objectives now and in the future.
We implemented an industry-leading single-platform research interface that gives any of our fund managers and analysts real-time access to our cross-industry, sector, geography and asset class proprietary knowledge – whether they are at their desk or on the road.
We serve everyone – from individuals, advisers, financial institutions, employer pension plans, and governments across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
Everything we do is connected to helping our clients achieve a better future. Whether this is through creating our own world-class investment solutions, providing access to those of other asset managers, or delivering a service to help our clients, big and small, to invest in the way that best suits their goals.
As a privately owned and independent business we’re driven by the needs of our clients, not by the interests of shareholders or those of a parent company. Our commitment to integrity, innovation and excellence, coupled with the ability to charter our own course, are what make us unique.
In a constant bid to counter data noise with smart insight, we began working on proprietary behavioural psychology based software. This generates automated nudges emailed to our portfolio managers to help keep both their own human biases in check - and to smartly validate how unique, or not, their decisions really are vs. the crowd. This ‘behavioural edge’ has the potential to both lower investment risk and increase returns through a better understanding of market dynamics.
Having first opened a presence in Dublin in 2000, we moved to a new office in 2016. The central site provides an attractive and dynamic working environment for our growing client and investment services operations teams - and allows us to tap the growing FinTech talent pool in Ireland to support the future growth of the business.
In the summer of 2016, we also opened our office in Copenhagen to better support Danish institutional investors and distribution partners.
Fidelity International has served the National Social Security Fund of China as one of their asset managers since 2009 and is also currently one of the largest international asset managers by Chinese equities under management on behalf of clients outside of China. January 2017 marked a historic milestone for us, with Fidelity becoming the first foreign owned asset manager to receive a private fund management registration, allowing us to offer local investment funds registered in China to Chinese institutional and high-net worth investors.
As a privately-owned company, we are able to take a long-term approach to developing the best solutions for our clients globally to meet their investment and retirement needs, and our presence in China as an investment marketplace is crucial over the long term to our global strategy.
Coming to London
‘Fidelity International’ is born
Growing our footprint in Asia
Serving pension funds and private investors
Giving back through Fidelity Foundations
Expanding our investment services to investors across Europe and Asia
Becoming a pension plan administrator.
From Equity Specialist to Multi Asset House
Adding to our services for individual investors.
Developing Digital Investment Platforms for the 21st century.
China and India become our global technology backbone
Helping our clients weather the crisis
Solutions for changing investment needs
At the forefront of investment research
Next generation service
Harnessing technology for greater insight and better client support
A first in China