From the mailbag:
Fidelity, specifically in Boston but surely other cities, has been quietly working its way through a pretty massive headcount reduction since about February. In 2009 the firm did a lot of hiring in general. In Fidelity Capital Markets, the size of our trading floor was doubled and by November it was pretty much filled with traders. This hiring was apparently in response to the increase in volumes which I guess management thought was permanent. Of course it wasn't. Now the trading floor is less than half full! I don't have an exact number, but at least 100 traders have been whacked this year and more layoffs are on the way. The layoffs seem to target the 2009 hires at all salary levels and other relatively new hires at lower salary levels as the severance package for such people is a lot smaller than those for people that have been around a while.
As Fidelity is privately held, it doesn't have to officially report this and local media has largely ignored it. That definitely sucks for the people that have been let go. So, I thought I would honor the service of these people to get the word out there. Hopefully our own Cliff Asness-type will weigh in.