Tuesday, 4 December 2007

A letter to Fidelity

The letter below has gone in the post this morning. My wife and I have been with Fidelity for about 6 years now. We have an ISA we set up to help pay off our mortgage, so we were intending to stick with them for the long run.

We are therefore both really p***ed off that we may have to go through the hassle of changing fund manager because the one we chose prioritises making partisan political donations over the concerns of its customers.

I hope they reply saying they are going to halt the donations. But if they won't stop doing it we feel we have no option but to move our savings elsewhere.

Fidelity International,
Oakhill House,
130 Tonbridge Road,
TN11 9DZ

My account Number: XXX
My Adviser: XXX

I was concerned to learn from the Electoral Commission website that Fidelity International has donated £95,000 to the Conservative Party so far during 2007.

I am not a Conservative Party supporter, but I do not believe that a fund management business like Fidelity should make donations to any political party.

As you are no doubt aware most institutional investors will vote against resolutions at companies’ AGMs where authority is sought to make party political donations. Indeed party political donations are rare amongst listed companies these days. It is therefore somewhat surprising to see an institutional investor make such donations itself.

As a long-standing Fidelity customer I am very concerned by these donations. I would therefore be grateful if you could answer the follow questions.

• What is the rationale for making donations to the Conservative Party?
• Does Fidelity intend to make similar party political donations in future?
• Does Fidelity disclose these donations when this is a potential conflict of interest (ie when presenting to Conservative-controlled local authority pension funds)?

I also wish to make clear that if Fidelity does intend to continue making partisan political donations I am likely to move my family’s savings to another fund manager.

Yours sincerely



Charlie Marks said...

I think you're going to be moving your savings somehow...

Tom P said...

yeah I think you're right!

John Gray said...

Surely they should disclose this fact before presenting to any local authority not just ones with a Tory majority? A Council pension scheme panel will probably still have Tory members present even if they do not control the authority. I am sure that they will not want to be put in a potentially compromising position. Also, vulnerable without any such declaration of interest by Fidelity would be any Council officers present or their professional advisors if they themselves are Conservative Party members or supporters?

Actually I’m sure this information will be gratefully received in the Labour heartlands.

Tom P said...

Yeah basically first and foremost I think they should simply stop doing it. But of they ARE going to ignore the feelings of customers then they should at least disclose the partisan support they provide in order to be transparent.