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Fidelity Posts 20% Profit Increase on Modest Revenue Growth in 2016

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Fidelity Financial Services (FFS) announced Thursday an increase of 19.5% in operating income in 2016 to $3.5 billion on a 3.4% increase in revenue to $15.9 billion. The private company’s report to shareholders said its ability to “contain expenses due to careful cost management” resulted in a 0.4% decrease in expenses to $12.4 billion, and lauded its revenue growth “in the face of headwinds from industry-wide pricing pressures, the emergence of new financial technology competitors, and shifting customer preferences.”

As for the part of FFS that serves broker-dealers and registered investment advisors directly, the company said that Fidelity Institutional (FI) had a “solid year,” ending 2016 with $2.21 trillion in assets under administration, up 9.7% from 2015, and $575 billion in AUM.

The company said FI benefited from the first full year after the reorganization “into a more unified structure” of its clearing and custody and Fidelity Institutional Asset Management distribution businesses. In 2016, Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions (FCCS) generated $112.1 billion in net new client flows, bringing overall client assets on the FCCS platform to $1.67 trillion.

The company said it also “benefited from large client conversions in clearing and custody, which drove growth in assets, trading and margin balances; new asset management products, such as factor exchange-traded funds (ETFs); and changes to asset management fee and distribution policies, which made it more desirable for large broker-dealer and insurance clients to use Fidelity products for their customers.”

In its clearing business, FI said it completed in June 2 a project that converted 42 former JPMorgan correspondent clearing clients to its platform, bringing with them “more than “$70 billion in assets across more than 170,000 accounts.”

In its RIA custody business, FI said breakaway broker firms “continue to propel growth,” with “45 of FI’s 160 new wins” to its custody platform coming from breakaways. Fidelity Institutional reported it now has more than $150 billion in client assets on Envestnet’s managed account platform.

(See RIA Buyers Getting More Selective: Fidelity M&A Report.)

FI also highlighted the rollout of its Wealthscape technology platform, and the Fidelity Automated Managed Platform (AMP), which includes Fidelity’s own digital advice offering, or robo-advisor, for advisors. “Select advisory firms” will begin to test AMP, co-developed with eMoney, “in the coming weeks,” the company announced separately on Wednesday.

As for its retirement business, as of year-end 2016 Fidelity said it serviced 27.5 million workplace plan participants (up 6% from the end of 2015), 8.9 million retail households, (up 6.8%) and 8.7 million institutional accounts (up 4.1%).


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