When you're sending a message to 15 million investors, you'd better make sure you connect with the richest ones.
is trying to do with its slick new quarterly shareholder magazine,
The magazine goes to customers who keep at least $100,000 in a retail account or who make at least 36 trades a year in a brokerage account. With a circulation of 800,000, the magazine tries to provide "more sophisticated" information than
, the company's general shareholder magazine, says spokeswoman Lori Kelman-Seely.
"aims to provide customers who have above-average assets with us ... with content relevant to their lifestyle," says Fidelity's head of marketing Stephen Cone.
Translation: Fidelity has been feeling pressure to keep higher-net-worth investors, and the magazine may be one way to make them feel catered to, says Jim Lowell, editor of
, an independent newsletter that tracks Fidelity's funds.
"I think Fidelity is up against some high-net-worth drift, or at least the potential for it," says Lowell. "There are other players -- say a
-- that are very adept at treating their high-net-worth investors as if each one is the only individual on the planet."
But while targeting the high end is nothing new -- especially for a financial services firm -- Lowell says
exclusivity could work against it.
The magazine's slogan -- "Exclusively for Fidelity's Most Valued Customers" -- didn't escape Lowell's attention. "I think all customers at Fidelity ought to be valued," he says.
On the other hand, he notes that the $100,000 minimum to get the magazine isn't really that exclusive given the long bull market. (Fidelity declined to discuss how many customers had accounts that size.)
was the result of focus groups that Fidelity commissioned to find out more about what its high-net-worth customers wanted, says
editor Wendy Kincaid.
"They want some hard-hitting information, some Fidelity insider information," says Kincaid. "And they want to know what the people who have their money are doing and why they're doing it."
isn't your typical marketing rag. Sure, there are the four obligatory pages of Fidelity products and marketing goo -- including an ad for President Bob Pozen's do-it-yourself video series on how to run a mutual fund. But the magazine does have some meat.
In the premier issue of
, there's an article on tax-sensitive investing in which indexing -- the polar opposite of Fidelity's legendary stock-picking style -- is touted as something investors might what to consider. This despite the fact that indexing is the undisputed realm of Fidelity's rival,
gives you something other magazines can't -- the dope on investing straight from the mouths of Fidelity's rarely quoted managers. In another article in the premier issue, managers Erin Sullivan (
Aggressive Growth), Stephen Petersen (
Equity-Income) and Dick Habermann (
Asset Manager) all talk about the stocks in their portfolios.
That the magazine would not look out of place on the corner newsstand should come as no surprise.
is not Fidelity's first foray into publishing. In 1992, Fidelity launched
magazine, also aimed at high-net-worth investors. The project had the loving support of Fidelity Chairman Ned Johnson and was the offspring of another in-house publication,
But Fidelity, which has businesses as far flung as taxicabs and telecommunications, sold
unit last year among reported losses. The move came during a push at the company to refocus on its core mutual fund business.
With a history like that,
has raised some eyebrows, though few Fidelity watchers see the publication as another attempt at a free-standing magazine.
"I doubt very much that Fidelity would make that error in judgment
again,"says Eric Kobren, editor of
, another independent newsletter that follows Fidelity's funds. "
was a love of Ned's. But it was not a success, and they spent a fortune on it."
editor, doesn't write the possibility off completely.
"I really can't imagine going for that here," says Kincaid, but "you never say never in this world."