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Friday, August 30, 2002

Fido Cuts Stock Research

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Fidelity Investments is ending its effort to build a business out of providing independent stock research. The Boston Behemoth has long been known for its investment research abilities, but until two years ago it had kept the fruits of that research to itself.

That changed two years ago when the firm started to offer independent research to broker-dealers in a move that put it in competition with Wall Street investment banks. Fidelity sold the research through its seven-year-old Vestigo Associates unit which operates as part of Fidelity Capital.

The decision to cease offering selling equity research to outside clients was revealed in a memo to clients yesterday. Vestigo will continue to offer bond research to the clients and its six stock analysts will be reassigned.

At its peak Vestigo analysts covered just 24 companies. That left Fidelity playing in mid-court, neither at the net nor at the baseline. The firm had the choice of significantly expanding the coverage to make the product more viable or pulling back. It chose to pull back.  

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