Kathleen Murphy, Boston’s Oracle of Investment

As president of personal investing at Fidelity, Murphy holds the fiscal futures of millions of customers in her hands. To think she got her start flipping burgers.
kathleen murphy fidelity

Illustration Source: Courtesy of Fidelity

My first job was at Burger King, and it taught me the value of hard work. Later on, in law school, I interned at a prestigious Wall Street law firm. They offered me a job, but I turned it down. The role I eventually accepted was for half the money, but it offered me the opportunity to do much more interesting work.

Once you get comfortable, it’s time to challenge yourself. With the world changing so fast, it’s more important than ever to embrace change and learn new things. This certainly applies to financial services, where every part of the industry is changing due to the global economic environment, the use of technology and digital capabilities, and new competition.

Every executive should know how to truly empower employees at all levels to make decisions and take decisive actions without a lot of bureaucracy. Command and control and top-down management are inhibitors to growth, employee engagement, and cultivating a culture of vitality. Many leaders struggle to change their traditional leadership style to empower their people and build this type of culture.

A bit of personal investing advice that I share with everyone is that the fundamentals of investing are not hard, and that value and transparency matter. The financial services industry has made it more complicated than necessary and too many in the industry aren’t clear about the value clients really receive after their fees are deducted.

Most people want to be part of something bigger and to know that they’re making a real difference in the lives of others. Therefore, we ensure that each of our associates understands that their work inspires a better future for our clients, and we are continuously building an energizing employee experience that ranges from innovative workspaces to enhanced digital tools to more-relevant employee benefits.

Most people know the name Fidelity, but many people don’t realize that while asset management is a critically important part of our company and heritage, we also provide more help and advice to every segment of the population than any other financial services adviser in the country, be it to high-net-worth clients, retirees, pre-retirees, women, or millennials. The vast majority of our employees are not in asset management, but rather are licensed financial professionals, technologists, and those with deep digital skills.

The best way to unwind after a tough day is to have some laughs with my family. We love to go to the local Irish pub Dunn-Gaherin’s, in Newton Upper Falls, on the weekends just to catch up on the week.

If I had to describe Boston in three words, I would say authentic, smart, fun.

Fidelity at a Glance

Founded in 1946
Annual revenue $15.9 billion
Number of employees worldwide 45,000
Total assets under management $5.6 trillion


Chris Sweeney Chris Sweeney, Senior Editor at Boston Magazine csweeney@bostonmagazine.com