“Done Deal” – Fidelity Continues to Move Jobs Away from Massachusetts

( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

Patrick’s economic development secretary, Gregory Bialecki, who has been closely involved with the Fidelity Marlborough campus closing issue, was in England at the time Patrick’s office got the call from Fidelity but said he wasn’t directly familiar with the details. Bialecki said, however, that Patrick’s complaint wasn’t that he didn’t get “a heads up phone call” as early or as conveniently as he would have liked from Fidelity, but rather, that Fidelity only reached out after it was long past clear its decision to move the jobs from Marlborough to New Hampshire and Rhode Island was “a done deal.” – Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, on the news that Fidelity Investments was closing it’s Marlborough Massachusetts facility and moving jobs to Rhode Island in 2011.

In March of 2011 Fidelity investments announced the bombshell that they were closing their Marlborough, Massachusetts facility and relocating 1100 jobs to Rhode Island.  In the aftermath of that announcement the Deval Patrick administration demanded a meeting with Fidelity’s Abigail Johnson.  During that meeting, Johnson told Patrick the company’s decision wasn’t due to his policies, just a real estate deal.

“She was at pains to assure it was not a reflection of her own or the company’s commitment to Massachusetts or commitment to having a partnership with me or this administration, which I appreciate,” Patrick said.

Industry watchers and some Republican lawmakers say high taxes forced Fidelity to move jobs out of Massachusetts. But Patrick says Johnson told him that wasn’t the case.

“She made the point that the decision had nothing to do with the business climate here in Massachusetts. From their perspective its a real estate deal and has to do with the relative age and utility of the facilities here as distinct from the one in Rhode Island and another up in Merrimack,” Patrick said.

After Patrick’s meeting with Fidelity, the Senate held a hearing with Fidelity’s Ronald O’Hanley.  At the meeting Senator Mark Montigny, scolded Fidelity for being a bad corporate citizen.

Mark Montigny, state Senate chairman of the Post Audit and Oversight Committee, called Tuesday’s hearing to discuss potential penalties after Boston-based Fidelity, the second-largest U.S. mutual-fund company, said March 15 it was closing offices with about 1,100 employees. Most of the workers will be relocated to New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Despite their public pronouncements, quietly Fidelity has kept pace it’s plans to move jobs out of Massachusetts, to more competitive states.  Red Mass Group has learned from numerous Fidelity Employees over the weekend that Fidelity plans to move most of its remaining employees out of Massachusetts by the end of 2013.  

Fidelity has offered relocation packages to many of its middle managers, and other workers to relocate to offices scattered across the United States, including Tennessee, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Texas.  According to these employees, Fidelity plans to keep core headquarters related functions in Massachusetts and little else.

The loss of Fidelity, is not the loss of manufacturing or other jobs that this administration thinks the Massachusetts economy can’t compete for anymore.  This is the loss of high skilled jobs needing degrees.  Jobs that the administration thinks Massachusetts is uniquely qualified to attract.  

In a report released earlier this year by MassINC (PDF), professor Andrew Sum of Northeastern University found that there is no correlation between states with higher rates of educational achievement and job growth.  During the 2000s Massachusetts had the highest rate of educational achievement of the 50 states, but ranked near the bottom in job growth.

According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, Massachusetts had 226,000 financial services jobs in January of 2006 the month Deval Patrick took office.  As of February 2012 there were 204,000 financial services jobs in the Commonwealth.  This is a 9.7% drop in financial services employement.  During the same time period, there was a loss of 7.7% of financial services jobs in the nation as a whole.

What will be the Patrick Administration’s response to this latest news?

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