Fidelity Increasingly Unsure Of This Whole Mutual Fund Thing

Who wants to let Abby Johnson administer their hedge-fund assets?
By Singhaniket255 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Singhaniket255 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As one prominent industry leader has pointed out, the mutual fund business sucks. Nowhere is this more apparent than the company synonymous with mutual funds, Fidelity Investments. Whether through skill or sexual harassment or, as Jack Bogle might have it, dumb fucking luck, Fido’s funds have done pretty well, and still no one cares.

In each of the last 10 years, Fidelity’s fabled mutual funds have leaked money, no matter how well they have performed…. Since 2010, investors have pulled $181 billion from Fidelity’s actively managed mutual funds, according to Morningstar. Such funds have become less popular, especially among younger investors, who have flocked to lower-cost index funds.

And so, like her shade-throwing PIMCO peer, she thinks maybe Fidelity shouldn’t do it so much anymore.

Ms. Johnson’s goal is to persuade clients that Fidelity can administer assets as well as it can manage them…. It is dull but profitable. And once the money comes into Fidelity’s possession, it tends to stay there, unlike the assets that flow in and out of its mutual funds….

She is unequivocal that the firm’s identity is no longer shaped by the mutual-fund managers so exalted in an earlier era.

“We need to figure out how to capture the imagination and attention of the next generation of investor,” she said.

Fidelity, Bruised From Crises, Searches for Life After Mutual Funds [NYT]