Trading Frenzy Lifts Fortune of Fidelity’s Johnson Family to $60 Billion

Robinhood Markets has snared most of the attention for attracting an army of day traders during the pandemic.

Trading Frenzy Lifts Fortune of Fidelity’s Johnson Family to $60 Billion

But far bigger profits are flowing to the family behind Fidelity Investments in Boston. Operating income reached a record $7.2 billion in 2020 and the number of retail accounts jumped 17% to 26 million. That helped increase the wealth of chief executive officer Abigail Johnson by $3.3 billion to $26.5 billion, making her the world’s eighth-richest woman.

Johnson along with her father, Ned, brother Ned IV and sister Elizabeth own almost half of Fidelity’s parent company, FMR LLC. The latest results push their combined fortune to about $60 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

Johnson, 59, has served as CEO since 2014 when she took over from her father. Fidelity, which manages $3.8 trillion in discretionary assets, makes up the majority of the family’s wealth though they’ve diversified with investments in Texas shale, technology startups, commercial real estate and European telecom. The family also owns a stake in investment manager Fidelity International, where assets under management rose 85% to $706.3 billion from last March through December.

Intensely Private

“The increases in customer volumes pushed us to move faster in areas that were already priorities,” Johnson said in a statement on Tuesday announcing the company’s annual results, citing digitization of service and technology upgrades among those initiatives.

The ubiquity of Fidelity’s funds and products is a marked contrast to its main shareholders. The Johnsons are intensely private, despite ranking among the world’s wealthiest families. Third-generation member Abby has been charged with reorienting the firm and diversifying its products beyond its original bread-and-butter, actively managed mutual funds. A shift toward low- and no-cost index funds helped Fidelity notch then-record revenue and operating profit in 2019.

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