Fidelity Posts ‘Help Wanted’ for Advisors, Customer Reps
(Story updated with comment from Vanguard spokeswoman in last two paragraphs.)
While investors contend with the consequences of staggering unemployment numbers and other economic setbacks of the coronavirus crisis, Fidelity Investments said Monday that it is speeding up its schedule to hire client-facing advisors and customer service representatives.
The Boston-based investment behemoth typically hires around 5,000 people annually on a staggered basis, but has pushed up the schedule because of “unprecedented engagement from our individual clients as well as 401(k), 403(b), defined benefit and stock plan participants” in the “challenging environment,” she added in a press release about the plans.
The job openings include customer service reps with little or no experience in financial services, unlicensed “financial consultants” who can work as liaisons on high net worth client accounts and account teams and experienced advisors and client associates with Series 6, 7, 9-10 or 24 licenses, said Fidelity spokeswoman Nicole Goodnow.
The company’s retail brokerage business operates primarily through call and service centers for self-directed and retirement plan investors, but also employs brokers who service investors with $250,000 and more kept with the firm. Hundreds of the 2,000 slots the company seeks to quickly fill involve “licensed professionals,” Goodnow said, but did not specify what part of its client sector they would service.
Fidelity also is seeking some technology specialists, but the “vast majority” will be client-facing jobs, the company said.
More than 16 million Americans in the past three weeks filed for unemployment benefits, according to the Labor Department. Several economists expect the unemployment rate to approach 15% by month’s end.
“Times are uncertain, but job seekers can be certain that they can build a dynamic career with Fidelity,” Bill Ackerman, head of human resources, said in the press release. It also said that Fidelity is expediting “onboarding and training processes,” while creating “substantial work-from-home arrangements to ensure the safety of associates.”
Charles Schwab Corp., Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Canada are among several wealth management firms that in recent days assured employees they would not lay off employees this year to help control costs. But none has actively publicized help-wanted notices.
“Our client metrics are outstanding and we’re managing well through the tremendous volumes of work driven by the market volatility—breaking records for net new assets, new brokerage accounts and new-to- retail households,” Schwab spokeswoman Mayura Hooper wrote in an email. “We have already announced that we have no plans to lay off any employees or to freeze new hiring as a result of the COVID-19 issue or the resulting market volatility.”
Schwab added about 250 new employees in the last two weeks of March alone, she said, without specifying their roles.
Vanguard, which competes directly with Fidelity as a privately held manager of mutual funds and as a “discount” broker-dealer, has not “at this time” made changes to its hiring strategy, said Melissa Kennedy, a company spokeswoman.
“Vanguard will continue to hire as appropriate,” she wrote in an e-mailed statement, “taking into account both economic and business needs to ensure we are able to effectively serve our more than 30 million clients around the globe, and provide them with the support and guidance needed to weather these unprecedented times.”