Fidelity consolidates workforce in RTP

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 02:02 PM

Rows of work stations sat empty Wednesday on the renovated third floor of a Fidelity Investments office building in the Research Triangle Park. But this weekend, about 200 employees are expected to move to help fill them.

The Boston-based financial-services company is consolidating its local workforce in a campus off N.C. 54. The company purchased four buildings from bankrupt Nortel Networks in the business park, and is consolidating its workers there, as well as in an office building in Cary.

The company had about 3,100 workers in North Carolina at the end of 2012. While Fidelity has customer service staff that provide service to individual customers at retail office locations in the state, its customer service employees at the campus off N.C. 54 work for business or institutional clients whose 401(k) or other benefits are managed or administered by the company.

The N.C. 54 campus also houses technology staff who develop software or offer website or technology support, said Deb Walsh, Fidelity’s senior vice president of communications technology and quality assurance.

The company has grown its workforce here as its client base has grown. Steve McCarthy, senior vice president of workplace investing for Fidelity, said that about a decade ago, the company had 425 workers here and was serving one primary institutional client.

The site here now serves more than 30 clients, he said. Each Fidelity institutional client has a primary service location, he said, as well as a secondary location that can handle spikes in call volume, or calls in the case of outages.

The site here is one of 11 regional sites for Fidelity. Others are at its headquarters in Boston as well as in New Mexico, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, Utah and New Jersey. A new site is expected to open in Denver in July.

The renovation to the buildings off N.C. 54 is one of the company’s largest in the country right now, said Chris Horblit, president of Fidelity Real Estate Co.

Fidelity Investments leased two of the four buildings, and in September 2011, bought all four. Renovation work started about 18 months ago, he said. The company is also building a new parking deck.

Nortel Networks Corp., the telecommunications equipment company that had occupied the buildings, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and has been sold off in business chunks.

Horblit said the electrical infrastructure at the former Nortel buildings is “robust.” That’s important because he said electrical operations at the site run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

During a tour of renovation work underway at the campus off N.C. 54, Horblit pointed out amenities including a wellness center where employees can get medical attention, a cafeteria, a coffee bar, office areas where employees can drop by and plug in, and conference rooms.

He also said renovation work has been done to let in more natural light.