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Streetwise Fidelity one step closer to launching Canadian ETF business

FILE - This Thursday, June 16, 2016, file photo shows a sign outside of a Fidelity Investments office in the Century City section of Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, Fidelity became the latest company to cut its fees in an ongoing industry battle that’s helped mom-and-pop investors keep more of their own dollars. A rival matched the price cut in only a matter of hours. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Richard Vogel/AP/File

Mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments is one step closer to launching its Canadian exchange-traded funds business after scooping up Raymond James fund expert Andrew Clee.

Mr. Clee joined Fidelity's Canadian operations as vice-president of ETFs on Jan. 2. Prior to joining Fidelity, Mr. Clee was a mutual fund/ETF specialist and portfolio manager for Raymond James Ltd. in Canada.

"We are very excited to have Andrew Clee join Fidelity Investments Canada with his deep knowledge of the ETF marketplace and insights into the needs of Canadian investors and financial advisers," Chris Pepper, a spokesperson for Fidelity said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. "ETFs are certainly a growing segment of the industry and our clients are interested in ETFs made and managed by Fidelity. Andrew and [our] team are hard at work examining how ETFs can complement our suite of strong, actively managed mutual funds and solutions."

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Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, which manages more than $132-billion in mutual fund and institutional assets in Canada, has been quietly sitting on the sidelines as many of its Canadian competitors have launched in the ETF space over the last year.

But last August, in a LinkedIn job post, the company said it was looking to hire an experienced vice-president who can create and implement an ETF strategy.

In the United States, Fidelity has been operating in the ETF market for more than a decade, managing more than $300-billion (U.S.) in assets in 21 funds. Its U.S. fund family includes bond, sector and factor-based ETFs and is sold through financial advisers, robo-advisers and directly to consumers.

In Canada, Fidelity entered the mutual-fund market in 1987. Today, it's the fourth-largest player in the country with 179 mutual funds, which are sold through investment advisers almost exclusively (although a few Fidelity funds are available on discount brokerage platforms).

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