On February 11, 2008, Fidelity Investments released its fourth quarter 2007 and record full-year brokerage results. Total brokerage client assets reached a high of $1.99 trillion in the fourth quarter, a 17% increase from one year ago. The company attributed the growth to increased net flows across all three brokerage units–Fidelity Retail, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services (the former FRIAG RIA division), and National Financial (clearing firm for independent broker/dealers)–as well as market activity. Through December 31, 2007, the firm saw growth across all of its brokerage divisions, with net new client assets of $201.1 billion, up 22% compared to 2006. The Institutional Advisor business (Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services) added $96.5 billion in net new client assets, up 129%, due to, among other things, the continuing success of its SunGard alliance, according to Fidelity, while National Financial added $34.6 billion in net new client assets through December 31, 2007, compared to $56.8 billion in 2006.
As for the company’s initiatives this past year, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services announced in October that it is developing Fidelity WealthCentral, a Web-based wealth management platform, while National Financial also introduced two new programs in October–The National Financial Broker/Dealer Recruiting Program and the National Financial Broker and Advisor Development Program–to “help broker/dealer firms and their brokers and advisors drive business growth by strengthening their existing recruiting efforts as well as accelerating broker development.”
Other noteworthy developments include seven additional major insurance carriers joining National Financial’s annuity program for broker/dealers in November; and the reduction of Fidelity’s retail trading charges for secondary market bond trades.