Fidelity Investments on Friday named Scott Couto as president of Fidelity Financial Advisor Solutions, the unit formerly known as Fidelity Investments Institutional Services that distributes investment management products and solutions to intermediaries, including advisors affiliated with wirehouses, independent broker-dealers and RIA firms. The appointment and name change takes effect immediately.
Couto (left), a CFA, had been interim head of the unit since early this year, following the December 2010 departure of Peter Cieszko. In June, American Century announced that Cieszko would be joining the fund company this summer in the newly created position of senior vide president, North America, with responsibility for all institutional and intermediary sales. Couto joined Fidelity in 2009 from Evergreen Investments, where he had been COO and head of the fund firm's intermediary business; Cieszko had been a top executive at the firm as well.
Prior to being named interim head of the renamed unit at Fidelity, Couto had been executive vice president of product management and marketing for Fidelity Investments Institutional Services.
Fidelity spokesperson Steve Austin said that Fidelity Personal, Workplace and Institutional Services—the Fidelity organization that since last year oversees all distribution efforts for Fidelity and is headed by Abigail Johnson—spent six months looking at the intermediary market, and the name change is part of a broader strategic plan for that market. The division now headed by Couto works with 4,000 institutions and 54,000 advisors with a collective $385 billion in AUM.
Austin further said that Fidelity felt the new name was “appropriate for the greater focus on the intermediary market,” and that beyond merely distributing specific Fidelity mutual funds, reflected a greater focus on providing the “products, tools and guidance” to help advisors better serve the investing needs of their end clients.
In his new position, Couto will report to Gerard McGraw, president of Fidelity Institutional.