Ah, Southern California, home of hot beaches, obscene traffic jams, yet another actor-turned-Governor and soon, a bevy of new offices owned by the No. 1 mutual fund firm in America. Fidelity Investments, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports, wants to bump up its number of big-city offices to 100 by the end of the year, with 20 of them being in California.

So Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica will be gaining Fidelity offices, adding to the nine already present in Southern California and seven in Northern California. To Fidelity Executive Vice President Bob Hedges, California is everything.

"We have an adage: As California goes, so goes the growth of our company," said Hedges. With a 10% market share, one million individual investors and one million institutional investors, Fidelity looks to be following that adage by attempting to gain more.

The move is the latest in the back-to-basics, personal touch of the financial services industry, which just four or five years ago tried to make face-to-face contact obsolete by introducing everything on a Web-based platform. From Pentiums and monitors back to bricks and mortars goes Fidelity, and the rest of the industry.

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