Ronald DePoalo has financial technology in his blood. His father, Phillip, was head of technology at Salomon Brothers. “I spent a good amount of time learning about the business from him,” says the younger DePoalo, now chief information officer of the Fidelity Institutional unit of Boston-based Fidelity Investments. He went on to “put technology at the heart of my degree,” a BS in management information systems from Ramapo College in New Jersey (later supplemented by an MBA from Saint Peter’s University). His “baptism by fire” came shortly after entering a Merrill Lynch & Co. training program in 1986, as a developer in mortgage-backed securities. Back then technology was “the necessary evil of financial services, with lots of batch processing,” the 50-year-old recalls. “I was there at the beginning, witnessing how technology became more and more central.” At Merrill he rose to chief technology officer for global wealth management, leaving in 2008 to oversee Fidelity’s $3.5 trillion-in-assets brokerage platform, which serves the retail and workplace businesses s well as the technology for the institutional business. It includes National Financial, Institutional Wealth Services, Financial Advisor Solutions, Capital Markets Services and Family Office Services. “We are building out trading tools and systems to bring institutional-type quality for all different clients,” DePoalo says. Last year saw enhancements to the PB Optimize price transparency tool for securities lending and the launch of a crossing system for block trades. This year’s priorities: fixed-income trading and transaction cost analysis for equities and options.