Fidelity Investments will open six additional branches in the Sun Belt this coming year, after having opened 10 in 2004, Boston Business Journal reports. Three are planned for California (Delmar, Roseville and Santa Monica), two for Florida (Jacksonville and Wellington) and one for Durham, North Carolina.

Fidelity views these as areas of growth and opportunity, said David Giunta, senior vice president for Fidelity's eastern region. In selecting these cities, Fidelity also looked for pockets of wealth, a large number of existing customers and projections for strong population growth, particularly among retirees, Giunta said. "Investor centers play an important role in Fidelity's growth," he added.

James Lowell, editor of Fidelity Investor, believes Fidelity is making a concerted push to compete directly with private banks. Indeed, Fidelity has expanded from 77 branches in 2001 to 101 this year, and of its 19.5 million customers, Fidelity sources 7.5 million, or 38%, through its retail outlets.

"Fidelity is looking into the future and reinventing what traditionally has been thought of as private banking and bringing it to Main Street," Lowell said. Dennis Gallant, an analyst with Cerulli Associates, agreed that a greater physical presence could help the fund giant. "Those with brick-and-mortar have a competitive advantage," he said.


The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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