Due to a recent flood of outflows from its U.S. stock funds, Fidelity Investments is on a mission to expand its research group, and the move is forcing rivals to safeguard their best talent for fear of being cannibalized, according to the Boston Business Journal.

Fidelity intends to spend $100 million to recruit 75 new analysts, a move that would double the amount of its researchers by May 2006. Fidelity has already hired 35 new researchers, and about 10% of them are mutual fund industry veterans with between 16 and 18 years of experience. Fidelity would not comment on where the new hires were recruited from, or from where it intends to find the remaining 40, but it's been taken as a warning shot by rival shops.

"If I am an analyst in Boston and I know Fidelity is doubling its staff, it's going to be good from a pay perspective because the firm I'm currently with is going to have to pay more to keep me," said Laura Lutton, an analyst with Morningstar.

Fidelity could tap firms that have recently experienced management turnover and scandal.

"Fidelity has the capability of getting whomever they want," said Scott Vierra, a managing partner at 75 Search Partners. "A lot of investment professionals know their people will be targeted."

A top-of-the-line analyst could earn upwards of $750,000 annually in salary and benefits, while good researchers could make between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.

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