The development of retirement savings plans in Europe is a $15 trillion opportunity for asset management firms. But for American companies, the barriers to entry are high.

So said an executive for Fidelity Investments, the top provider of 401(k) retirement savings plans in the United States. Speaking at a conference here last week on the globalization of mutual funds, Robert G. Flater, president of Fidelity Group Pensions International, told attendees that leadership in the U.S. retirement market does not guarantee success abroad.

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