Fidelity Investments confirmed Wednesday that Charles Goldman, its head of institutional platforms, is leaving the company.
The company said Goldman is leaving at the end of March, “to pursue opportunities outside the organization,” according to Vin Loporchio, a Fidelity spokesman. It has not named a replacement.
Goldman’s former team of three division presidents will run the institutional platforms. They are: Sanjiv Mirchandani, president of National Financial, Fidelity’s clearing business; Mike Durbin, president of Institutional Wealth Services, which supported the registered investment advisory market; and Ed Orazem, president of Fidelity Family Office Services.
All three report to Gerard McGraw, the president of Fidelity Institutional. Goldman reported to McGraw, who came to Fidelity November 2008.
Industry insiders say Goldman’s departure is more a reflection of Fidelity’s high turnover in the last couple of years, lack of succession planning, and lack of strategic focus as to how to use him.
Goldman left Charles Schwab & Co. after the new president and chief executive officer, Walter Bettinger, appointed Jim McCool in November 2008 as executive vice president of institutional services, effectively pushing Goldman out, said Timothy Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy in Larkspur, Calif., who worked with Goldman at Schwab before leaving in 2006.
A year before the shift at Schwab, Fidelity hired Michael Clark as head of its institutional services business. “Fidelity opportunistically scooped Goldman up, but I don’t think they had a game plan,” Welsh said. “They said here is a great opportunity. Let’s get him now and figure out the details later.”
But Goldman did approach his job with a plan, aiming to improve service for its advisor clients. “His job was to fix service, and I think he did that,” Welsh said. “I think he did an outstanding job, given the cards that were dealt to him.”
During Goldman’s tenure, the Institutional Wealth Services division, in partnership with National Financial, helped a record 191 breakaway brokers go independent in 2009, a 63% increase from 117 advisors who made the move in 2008. IWS ended 2009 with $392.7 billion in assets, an increase of 35% over 2008. It also launched an enhanced service model and continued the rollout of the Fidelity WealthCentral platform.
As for the other divisions, National Financial ended the year with $550 billion in assets, representing a $44 billion increase over the prior year and added 14 new clients to its platform. The family office division surpassed 100 family office clients, according to Fidelity.
But Clark left the company in September, once again leaving Goldman without a strong ally. At some point, according to another professional familiar with the company, Fidelity decided “it was probably a layer that they did not need.”
Welsh said “It’s unfortunate that in a corporate setting, politics becomes more important than performance. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. Anyone who has held that top level job will always be in demand.”