Stephen Neff
Enterprise Chief Technology Officer
Fidelity Investments

With an early-adopting heritage that includes a mainframe computer installation in 1965, an Internet home page in 1995 and today a global technology staff of 10,000 with a budget of $2.5 billion, Fidelity Investments has the organizational DNA and bandwidth to be aggressive in research and development. The R&D engine is a subsidiary, Fidelity Labs, which according to its website has “graduated” such products as Fidelity Watchapp for Pebble and FidSafe for document storage, and is beta-testing Fidelity Market Monitor for Google Glass and data visualizations for limit orders and watch lists. Artificial intelligence, big data, security and open source are key innovation areas, and the mantra is “scan, try, scale,” says Stephen Neff, 64, the Boston-based asset management giant’s enterprise CTO since January 2013. A 20-year Fidelity veteran who previously worked for Salomon Brothers and IBM Corp., Neff says cloud computing, which Fidelity began working with internally about five years ago, is today’s highest-impact technology. “It really allows for major transitions that are going on now in the industry, such as digitalization of human services,” he explains. “Regardless of what channel it comes on — mobile apps or wearables such as Apple Watch — our customers expect that we have total knowledge of their past transactions readily accessible. Cloud, digitalization and personalization are game changers.” Talent being ever more critical to the technology mission, Fidelity’s recruitment program, Leap, now in its seventh year, has broadened to include liberal arts graduates in addition to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors. The program has a five-year retention rate of 80 percent. “It’s one of the many ways we’re looking for a diverse workforce that reflects what our customers look like,” Neff says.

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