Consolidation in the clearing business continues apace. As Investment Advisor went to press, National Financial, Fidelity Investments' clearing arm, announced on Dec. 16 that it had signed an agreement to acquire the clearing arm of Brookfield, Wisconsin-based Fiserv Inc., BHC Investments Inc. Fiserv said it had agreed to sell the business for $365 million, including net capital, and that doing so would allow it to focus on its core operations, including its insurance and trust businesses.
In a prepared statement, Fidelity vice chairman Robert Reynolds said the acquisition "firmly demonstrates Fidelity's continued long-term commitment to the brokerage business--specifically our correspondent clearing operation--and will certainly benefit the clients of both National Financial and Fiserv." Reynolds went on to say that National Financial has had "significant growth," and that the deal "adds enormous scale, which will be a major benefit for our clients."
The companies expect to complete the transaction during the first quarter of 2005. Fidelity said Fiserv correspondents will transition to National Financial throughout 2005.--James J. Green