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Fidelity plans to hire 2,000 people across US amid economic downturn

Boston company accelerates hiring to keep up with demands from retirement plan customers.

Boston -09/14/18- Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson spoke at the FinTech "fireside chat" at the Fidelity headquarters on Friday(9/14)morning. Photo by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(business)
Boston -09/14/18- Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson spoke at the FinTech "fireside chat" at the Fidelity headquarters on Friday(9/14)morning. Photo by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(business)John Tlumacki

Fidelity Investments isn’t letting the COVID-19 public health crisis get in the way of its hiring plans.

In fact, the Boston financial services giant is ramping up hiring, with a goal of adding 2,000 new jobs across the United States, in part to accommodate the demand for guidance it faces from customers amid the pandemic and the related stock market gyrations and economic slowdown.

Fidelity said on Monday it would “accelerate the hiring” of about 2,000 people, beyond the thousands of roles it typically fills each year; roughly 40,000 employees work for the company in the United States, out of a global workforce of more than 45,000. The new jobs will include customer service reps, software engineers, and licensed financial consultants, among others.

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The money manager and benefits administrator said it is seeing an unprecedented volume of inquiries from customers about their 401(k)s, 403(b)s, pensions, and other retirement plans. Fidelity, which also runs a stock brokerage business, said it has seen growth from investors opening new accounts.

With changes in tax filing and IRA contribution deadlines, the needs of Fidelity customers have increased, spokesman Vin Loporchio said, and the company wants to meet those needs. Most of the jobs are “client facing,” he said, though some technology jobs will be filled as well. Loporchio said the company is also looking ahead and investing in its business, to be “in a position of strength” when the pandemic ends.

The 2,000 jobs, he said, are all new, on top of the existing US workforce, and hiring for roughly half of them starts immediately.

Some of these jobs will come to New England. About 350 of the open positions are for this region — mostly customer service jobs at the company’s Merrimack, N.H., facility, but also software engineer jobs for Fidelity offices in Boston and Smithfield, R.I.

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Loporchio said Fidelity is making some changes to its recruitment and hiring practices, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Job interviews will be done by video, not in person, and on-boarding of new hires will take place virtually until the health crisis subsides. Nearly all of Fidelity’s employees are working from home right now.

Chief executive Abby Johnson stressed to employees during a video on March 20 that Fidelity remains strong, in part because of the diversification of its business lines: asset management, brokerage, benefits administration. She also stressed that Fidelity’s private ownership — the company is owned by members of the Johnson family and by employees — means that it is not dependent on public markets for liquidity.

“Fidelity has a track record of persevering through all market conditions,” Johnson said in the video for employees, according to a transcript provided to The Boston Globe. “Customers turn to us for clarity and confidence, and to fulfill their expectations, we need all of you.”


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.