Fidelity 2019 profit rose 10% on strong flows into index and money-market funds

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By Tim McLaughlin

BOSTON (Reuters) – Fidelity Investments said on Tuesday operating profit in 2019 climbed 10% to $6.9 billion as investors pushed their cash into money-market and passively managed products while pulling billions of dollars from actively managed stock funds.

FMR LLC, the owner of Boston-based Fidelity, said its collection of financial services and diversified businesses generated revenue of $20.9 billion, up from $20.4 billion in 2018. Fidelity is privately held and controlled by the family of Chairman Abigail Johnson.

As the stock market surged last year, Fidelity clients plowed $121 billion into money-market funds and $66 billion into index funds. By contrast, Fidelity’s actively managed direct-to-investor stock products were hit with $65 billion in net redemptions, up from $51 billion in 2018.

Nevertheless, Fidelity’s mutual funds produced relative returns that beat most of their peers over the short term and for the long haul.

“Our job was made easier by the fact, overall, 74% of their offerings beat their peers” on a one-year basis, said John Bonnanzio, an editor of the Fidelity Monitor & Insight newsletter for retail investors.

Over a five-year performance period, Fidelity funds beat 78% of peers, the company said.

Overall, net asset flows to Fidelity’s platform totaled $315 billion in 2019, a 2% increase from the previous year.

Fidelity’s annual report does not provide a balance sheet, an income statement or a statement of cash flows.

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