President, Fidelity Financial Services, Fidelity Investments
Last April, Abigail Johnson spoke with a group of 350 brokers and registered investment advisers about the strategy and innovation that lie ahead for Fidelity Investments. What emerged out of the executive forum in Naples, Fla., was an excited boost of confidence.
Many were hearing Johnson for the first time since she was made president over all of Fidelity's core businesses, a promotion that firmly entrenched her as the eventual successor to her father, Edward "Ned" Johnson III, as chairman and CEO. "She is taking the reins as a visionary for Fidelity," says Doug Dannemiller, principal of Duxbury, Mass.-based Dannemiller Analytics & Consulting. "And I think we've seen that transition for the last several years."
Along with its renewed focus on core assets like brokerage, Fidelity is breaking down departmental silos in products and customer segments, as well as moving the firm (which has more than $3.9 trillion in assets under administration) further down market to target small businesses and midsize clients that need help managing 401(k) or other investment plans. There are even thoughts of introducing video games to help advisers educate clients, particularly Gen Y/Gen X types, on investment decisions. Johnson, 51, has been with Fidelity, the firm her grandfather founded, since 1988.