Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company of Boston announced today the formation of the Retirement Business Unit to advise and support financial advisors with regard to retirement plans, sales, and operations.

The new unit will manage Fidelity’s retirement plans sold through advisors, which total about $48 billion, according to Sophie Lawnay, a spokesperson for Fidelity. The new unit will have roughly 100 employees, according to Lawnay.

The restructuring is prompted by the increased demand for advisors in the retirement plan business world, according to Donald Holborn, an executive vice president at Fidelity who will head the new unit, in a statement.

'Advisors are playing an increasingly important role in the retirement market place,' said Holborn. 'With 401(k) plan investment choices increasing, employee balances growing and benefits staffs shrinking, we believe it’s essential for advisors to provide education and professional expertise to plan sponsors in administering their retirement plans.'

The company also announced key retirement initiatives for 2001, including several retirement plan advisory tools. The company also will launch a new ad campaign in April to promote the value that advisors provide to plan sponsors.

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