SMITHFIELD, R.I. — Fidelity Investments is hiring 500 people for its Smithfield operation, an expansion fueled by the increase in personal investing.
The jobs, most of which are customer-facing and entry-level roles, will add to Fidelity’s current 3,200-person Rhode Island workforce.
“There’s some great talent in the state, and we’re looking forward to tapping into it,” Rick Metters, vice president of public affairs at Fidelity Investments, said at a news conference at Fidelity’s sprawling Smithfield campus Monday.
The campus now sits mostly empty as Fidelity’s employees work remotely, so the news conference, which included Governor Dan McKee and other elected officials, may have been more bustling than it’s been in months.
Metters said they’re working on plans to bring people back into the office, though there’s no set return date. They are strongly encouraging employees to get vaccinated, though there’s no mandate.
The 500 new employees will work from the current campus in Smithfield once the company has reopened, at least partially in person.
“We always hear, ‘Where are our kids going to work?’ ” McKee said. “We want them to stay here in Rhode Island. What a great opportunity here.”
These sorts of entry-level customer service roles haven’t typically been available in Rhode Island; candidates can apply online. For most of them, candidates do not need finance experience or licensure. They’ll help customers by answering questions on account balances, providing quotes on securities, and updating beneficiaries, among other things. Some of the new hires will also help customers with advice on their finances or on stock trading, which requires some licensure.
Fidelity separately announced 50 new technology jobs in Rhode Island last month. The Boston-based company has about 47,000 employees globally.
Fidelity opted to open the 500 new jobs in Rhode Island because it wanted to tap into the state’s workforce, and existing real estate in Smithfield was large enough to accommodate them, though after the pandemic ends employees may still be able to work remotely part of the time, said Mark Barlow, senior vice president of personal investing.
“We want these 500 new associates to know this isn’t a job, this is a place to come and have a career,” Barlow, who is based in Salt Lake City, said in a phone interview.
Personal investing has taken off in the past year, with consumers using platforms like Robinhood or established companies like Fidelity. Fidelity said it has added 8.6 million new accounts in the last year, and even existing customers have been more focused on the markets and their personal finances.
Those people might need help navigating the system, and in the future they might reach someone in Smithfield.
Fidelity said it’s looking for applicants who have strong customer service skills, like people working in the hard-hit hospitality and retail industries. The hiring will start remotely, and take place over the next few quarters. The company couldn’t say what the starting salary would be, but one of the roles, a customer relationship advocate, has an average base pay of about $45,000 a year, according to the hiring website Glassdoor.