Charles Goldman to leave Fidelity

Head of RIA and clearing businesses 'pursuing other opportunities'

Jan 27, 2010 @ 8:50 am

By Jed Horowitz

Charles Goldman, who one year ago joined Fidelity Investments to run its RIA custody, correspondent clearing and family office businesses, is leaving the firm.

Mr. Goldman, who is president of institutional platforms, will officially depart at the end of March “to pursue other opportunities,” said Vin Loporchio, a spokesman at Fidelity, last night. Mr. Goldman could not be reached for comment.

The move is the latest in a merry-go-round of departures by senior Fidelity executives, and ends Mr. Goldman's personal quest to narrow the market-share gap separating Number Two Fidelity from Charles Schwab Corp., the largest custodian of RIA assets. Mr. Goldman worked at Schwab from 2001 to 2008, leaving after the RIA business he headed was subsumed under another executive, James McCool.

Fidelity's RIA unit houses about $396 billion of assets managed by independent advisers. Schwab oversees just under $600 billion of retail assets on its RIA custody platform.

Mr. Goldman was hired at Fidelity by Michael Clark only weeks after Mr. Clark had lured Michael Durbin to run the firm's Institutional Wealth Services division for RIAs and also arranged for new leadership at National Financial, the mutual fund giant's correspondent clearing unit.

National Financial ended 2009 with $550 billion in introducing broker assets, up $44 billion from the end of 2008.

Mr. Goldman took a newly created post overseeing both units, promising to improve servicing and hoping to better integrate the two units' services for hybrid advisers. His tenure coincided with tumultuous markets, a wavering economy and big cutbacks at Fidelity that last September included the departure of Mr. Clark. Earlier this month, Fidelity President Rodger Lawson, who hired Mr. Clark in 2007 from JPMorgan Chase, announced that he will be leaving in March.

“Mr. Goldman’s position in Fidelity represented an unnecessary layer of management over the institutional businesses, National Financial and Institutional Wealth Services," Aite Group senior analyst Doug Dannemiller wrote in an e-mailed comment. "This move conveys trust in the individual leadership of these business units, and transforms the organizational structure to a more traditional one.”

Mr. Goldman will not be immediately replaced. The presidents of the three units that reported to him — IWS's Mr. Durbin, National Financial's Sanjiv Mirchandani, and Fidelity Family Office Services' Ed Orazem — will report directly to Gerard McGraw, who assumed Mr. Clark's role as president of institutional products in September, according to Mr. Loporchio.

Mr. Goldman, who is under 50 years old, received more than $2 million in compensation in 2007 when his RIA unit grew faster than any other part of Schwab. His compensation in 2008 and last year at Fidelity was not disclosed. Prior to joining Schwab, he ran a California nut and citrus company and also was a consultant.

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