Fidelity to cut nearly 1,300 jobs

World's largest mutual fund company to cut 1,300 jobs now, and more later, adding to layoffs from Janus, AllianceBernstein.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Fidelity Investments, the largest U.S.-based mutual fund company, is the latest to announce layoffs, which it blames on the economic crisis.

Fidelity said on Thursday that it would cut 2.9% of its 44,400-employee work force, which translates to about 1,300 lost jobs.

"We are trying to implement these cuts in a thoughtful and measured way," said Fidelity spokeswoman Anne Crowley, noting that many of the cuts would be management positions. "The de-layering of management, we believe, will help."

Fidelity is privately-held and based in Boston. Crowley said the cuts would be spread evenly throughout its U.S. locations. She said the company is still hiring in the customer services area.

If misery loves company, the laid-off workers will find plenty of both. The U.S. economy has shed some 760,000 jobs so far this year, through September.

The firm said another round of layoffs would occur in the first quarter of 2009. The company did not specify the number for the second round of cuts, but Crowley said it would be less than the 2,500 cuts that were projected in recent media reports.

The announcement follows two other recently-reported layoffs from mutual companies. Janus Capital Group Inc. is cutting 115 jobs, which equals nearly 10% of its work force. AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB) did not specify its number of pink slips.

"We don't have an overall target percentage number for the company, or number of bodies," said John Meyer, spokesman for AllianceBernstein, which has 5,500 workers in total. "The process is still ongoing right now."

Crowley said that investors have continued to pour money into Fidelity's mutual funds, with a net gain of $30 billion so far this year.

But the value of these investments -- particularly the equity investments -- have declined in step with the stock market. The S&P 500 has lost more than one-third of its value so far this year.

Meyer said that AllianceBernstein's $590 billion worth of managed assets has lost 28% of its value compared to last year, because of stock market declines. To top of page

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