David Lamere, the highly-regarded wealth management executive who most recently was CEO of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, has resurfaced at Fidelity.

Lamere dropped out of sight after his surprise resignation from BNY Mellon in 2010, where he had built the wealth management division into a global powerhouse with over $150 billion in client assets. He joined Fidelity as president of the newly-formed Fidelity Private Wealth Management organization within the company’s asset management division in November, but very quietly.

Fidelity did not issue a press release announcing the high-profile appointment, and did not make Lamere available for an interview for this story. “He is still in the process of developing the new group’s business plan and organizational structure; it would be premature to discuss details at this time,” said Jeffrey Cathie, a Fidelity spokesperson.

Fidelity Private Wealth Management will build out investment management, asset allocation, and trust products and services for high net-worth clients, Cathie said, partnering with Fidelity’s retail personal investing division.

The new business will also work with Fidelity’s Institutional Wealth Services division on the “continued expansion and enhancement” of the Wealth Advisor Solutions referral program, Cathie said, which refers Fidelity customers to qualified independent RIA clients of Fidelity. There are about 100 firms participating in the referral program, he said.

Industry observers gave Fidelity high marks for snagging Lamere, although questions about the industry giant’s strategy regarding the high end of the market remain.

“Lamere can definitely can help Fidelity diversify its business,” said industry consultant Jamie McLaughlin, who worked with Lamere at BNY Mellon. “Dave is one of the best executors in the entire industry. He can drive results and create an esprit de corps.”

But Lamere will also need capital and a free hand to build out the initiative, McLaughlin said. And Fidelity will “need to sort out how they want to position the group so as to not cannibalize their existing RIA business,” he added.

Fidelity has never fully built out its high net-worth business of clients with $1 million or more investable assets, one veteran industry executive noted. “Lamere built a phenomenal private wealth capability at BNY Mellon, so on paper this looks like a good move,” the executive said. “Fidelity should be able to leverage its products and services for this market, but they have to invest in talent to make it meaningful. Another big question is how this new business works with Wealth Advisor Solutions, which is a referral program. Don’t they now want to keep these clients?”

Lamere will report to Ronald O’Hanley, president of Asset Management and Corporate Services, who he also worked closely with at BNY Mellon. O’Hanley joined Fidelity in 2010, after a 13 year career at BNY Mellon, most recently as head of the bank’s asset management division.

Lamere is also a BNY Mellon veteran, having started his career in 1983 with The Boston Company,  the bank’s predecessor company. He climbed the ranks to become a vice chairman and member of the executive committee as well as head of wealth management before his unexpected resignation in 2010.

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