Fidelity Manager Retires; IRS Phone Scams Increase - Adviser Investments

Fidelity Manager Retires; IRS Phone Scams Increase

Longtime Fidelity Mutual Fund Manager Announces Retirement

At the end of August, Fidelity announced that prolific fund manager Mark Sommer plans to retire at the end of the year, capping a 26-year tenure at the Boston fund giant.

Sommer, a municipal bond specialist, currently oversees 21 Fidelity mutual funds, accounting for a combined $29.5 billion in assets. He shares management duties on all 21 funds with Kevin Ramundo and Cormac Cullen.

The list includes 12 state municipal bond funds, among them California Municipal Income, Massachusetts Municipal Income and New York Municipal Income. He also works on four target-maturity municipal bond funds.

The largest fund under Sommer’s co-direction is the $6.3 billion Intermediate Municipal Income fund.

The trio of managers each brings a different approach to the table for their investment approach. Sommer’s background is in quantitative management, placing a heavy reliance on mathematical modeling, while Ramundo has a credit-quality focus and Cullen specializes in the legal expertise of muni-bond structures.

Sommer was joined by Elizah McLaughlin on all of his funds on September 1 so that she can learn the ropes in the four months leading up to his retirement.

McLaughlin earned her B.A. at Wellesley College in 1997 and an M.B.A. at Cornell University in 2004.

She has managed Fidelity’s New Jersey Municipal Money Market and AMT Tax-Free Money Market funds since December 2010. In December 2011, she assumed primary management of Tax-Exempt Money Market. She took over Fidelity’s California and Massachusetts municipal money market funds in 2015.

As a co-manager, she has helped run Conservative Income Municipal Bond since March 2017 and Flex Conservative Income Municipal Bond since October 2017. Most recently, she assumed co-managerial duties on SAI Municipal Money Market in January.

Ramundo and Cullen will continue to co-manage all of the funds on which McLaughlin will be replacing Sommer. It’s tough to fill the shoes of a manager as seasoned as Sommer, but McLaughlin is an experienced manager herself, albeit more in the muni money market space.

Still, given the transition period and the fact that she’ll be joining an established team, we wouldn’t expect shareholders to see a dramatic effect on the funds’ investment approaches or portfolio characteristics once Sommer has left the building.

IRS Phone Scams on the Rise: Protect Yourself with Cybersecurity Checklist

It looks like phone scammers are at it again. Even after a significant bust, and dozens of convictions this year, a new wave of fraudsters has begun calling the unsuspecting claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here’s what we know about these calls and what you should do if you receive one.

The scammer (or if you miss the call, the voicemail left behind) will inform you that there is a problem with your tax return or that you owe taxes. Usually there is a threat of legal consequences unless you pay the owed taxes immediately. (An alternate version of this scam will claim you are owed a big refund to lure you into sharing personal information instead of seeking payment.)

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service does not handle disputes or refunds this way, so you should immediately be suspicious if you get a call like this.

The IRS will never call you if they haven’t first mailed you a bill, and they will never demand immediate payment without allowing you to question or appeal what you owe. They will also never ask for a credit card number over the phone or require a specific form of payment like a prepaid debit card.

If you get such a call, don’t agree to make the payment or share any personal information. Instead, note the number, hang up and then independently verify whatever it is they were claiming through www.IRS.gov/account. (Alternately, you can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.) The IRS has also provided guidance on avoiding and reporting fraudulent activity.

These scams are a good reminder to periodically review what you’re sharing online or in emails and affirm the security of your personal accounts. We’ve put together a helpful infographic with practical tips you can use to protect yourself—click here for a free cybersecurity checklist. (Note that Adviser Investments takes all of the recommended precautions listed and more.) If you’d prefer a deeper dive into the topic, please click here to read our cybersecurity tips.

It’s our goal to provide our clients with peace of mind when it comes to their portfolios—not just in terms of wealth management and financial planning, but also regarding the security of financial accounts and personal information. Making sure that only the people who should have access to accounts are the ones who do is part of the service we provide every Adviser Investments client. If you’d like to find out what we can do for you, please contact us today at (800) 492-6868 or info@adviserinvestments.com. We’d be happy to hear from you.

About Adviser Investments

Adviser Investments operates as an independent, professional wealth management firm with expertise in Fidelity and Vanguard funds, actively managed mutual funds, ETFs, fixed-income investing, tactical strategies and financial planning. Our investment professionals focus on helping individual investors, trusts, foundations and institutions meet their investment goals. Our minimum account size is $350,000. For the fifth consecutive year, Adviser Investments was named to Barron’s list of the top 100 independent financial advisers nationwide and its list of the top advisory firms in Massachusetts in 2017. We have also been recognized on the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

For more information, please visit www.adviserinvestments.com or call 800-492-6868.

Please note: This update was prepared on Friday, September 7, 2018, prior to the market’s close.

Disclaimer: This material is distributed for informational purposes only. The investment ideas and expressions of opinion may contain certain forward-looking statements and should not be viewed as recommendations, personal investment advice or considered an offer to buy or sell specific securities. Data and statistics contained in this report are obtained from what we believe to be reliable sources; however, their accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Our statements and opinions are subject to change without notice and should be considered only as part of a diversified portfolio. You may request a free copy of the firm’s Form ADV Part 2, which describes, among other items, risk factors, strategies, affiliations, services offered and fees charged.

Past performance is not an indication of future returns. The tax information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. We do not provide legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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