In response to a report in The Boston Globe that Fidelity Investments is exploring a sale, chairman Edward C. “Ned” Johnson issued a rare response denouncing the rumor.

“I must confess that this is the very first time I’ve heard that we are selling Fidelity. I appreciate The Globe letting me know this important fact,” he joked. “In all seriousness, this sounds like a rumor put out by an investment banker looking for business.”

He continued: “We’re doing very well as a private company and have for many years. We are financially strong and moving forward aggressively against our competition in a great many areas. But we are also a conservative company, and, like everyone else, we are watching our pennies.”

By all accounts, while Fidelity has announced a total of 2,800 layoffs, it still manages a formidable $1 trillion-plus in assets.

The Globe article makes a point, perhaps unfairly, that a number of Fidelity’s executives maintain residences in Manhattan or the area, leading an unnamed source to tell the paper that Johnson isn’t committed to the firm in the long term. Fidelity President Rodger Lawson dismissed that conjecture as “ridiculous.”

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