Stepping up its push for affluent clients, Fidelity Investments last week formed a new asset management and trust unit and appointed a prominent private banker to run it.
Lynn Davis, an executive with the Boston-based firm who once headed the private bank at Shawmut National Corp., was named president of Fidelity Asset Management and Trust Co., according to an internal announcement.
Ms. Davis' "primary responsibility is creating products and services for the contractual advice marketplace, as well as to enhance efforts in personal trust," read the announcement, which was signed by Fidelity's retail group president, Paul Hondros.
Ms. Davis, who joined Fidelity in 1995 as executive vice president of premium client development, declined to comment on her appointment. But a spokeswoman explained that instead on concentrating on mutual fund sales, the new unit will provide fee-based services, including asset management and trust and estate work, to the wealthy.
Fidelity Asset Management and Trust will be based in Boston and serve as a cornerstone for Fidelity's growing wealth-management business. In recent years, the parent FMR Corp. has chartered trust companies in California, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas and hired prominent executives from banks to run them.
"The rationale is that the market for asset management services and wrap fee products continues to grow at a rapid pace," Mr. Hondros wrote to his staff. "At the same time, there is increased product demand for trust services."
Observers said Ms. Davis is a logical choice to execute the fund giant's plan. At Shawmut, which was acquired in 1995 by Fleet Financial Group Inc., her responsibilities included personal investment services and discount brokerage. Before that, she worked at Chase Manhattan, where, according to a former colleague, she successfully developed a personal banking service for affluent individuals.
"She is a top-notch professional. She has very broad experience," said the former colleague, William R. White, now a senior consultant in the New York office of the Spectrem Group.
Mr. White, who works with asset managers that serve the wealthy, added the new group will help Fidelity broaden its sources of revenue.
"The payoff is if you get a relationship with an affluent client and develop it," Mr. White said, "then you get thousands of dollars of revenue per household as opposed to a few hundred."
The Fidelity spokeswoman declined to comment on how the new group will promote itself, saying it was "premature" to discuss marketing plans. Fidelity Asset Management will work to pick up pieces of business that normally would go to the competition, including banks.
"The high-net-worth clients that Fidelity has have a need for asset management services and trust services," the spokeswoman said. "And, we also obviously see a growing demand in the market in general for these services."
Several former bankers who joined Fidelity in the past year will be reporting to Ms. Davis. They include R. Daniel Banis, formerly with BankAmerica Corp.; Barbara E. Casey, Mellon Bank Corp.; Frimette T. Field, BayBanks Inc.; Bryan Keeney, U.S. Trust Corp.; and Rod Stell, First Interstate Bancorp.