Twas the day after Christmas and all through the title plant, not a creature was stirring because employees have a retirement rant.
According to The Title Report, Fidelity National Financial sent a memo out to their employees the day after Christmas informing them the company will no longer make contributions towards employees 401(k) plans.
"Fidelity did not immediately provide comment about why it ceased making retirement contributions.
The housing downturn has taken a toll on the Fidelity’s earnings as well as its stock value. Since closing at a high of $28.04 per share in May, its stock has lost more than 50 percent of its value, closing at $13.59 on Jan. 4.
Fidelity reported its third-quarter net earnings dipped to $6.5 million, compared to $127.6 million during the same period in 2006. Impacting earnings was an $81.5 million charge the company took as it bolstered its reserve for claim losses."
Other local Fidelity brands include Chicago Title and Ticor Title. An unnamed source from The Title Report suggested:
"Fidelity could consolidate its Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title and Ticor Title operations if market conditions worse."
Meanwhile, Bill Foley, Chairman of Fidelity National, is enjoying the fruits of his labor as a wine maker. Wine Spectator’s article dated December 26, 2007 (I kid you not):
"Merus, a Napa Cabernet label founded as a bonded garage in downtown Napa and which became one of Napa Valley’s rising-star Cabernet producers, has been sold to vintner William Foley, who heads the Foley Wine Group. Terms of the sale were not disclosed….
Foley’s heightened involvement in wine comes as he is fazing himself out of other business interests. He is still chairman of two firms, Fidelity National Information Services and Fidelity National Title, banking and home-loan deposit firms, respectively, yet he relinquished the title of CEO in the past year.
"I guess I’m shifting from those businesses to wine," he said, adding, "I’d like to kick [the wine brands] up a notch…."
Read the Wine Spectator article here: Download FoleyWineSpectatorDec262007.pdf
Is Fidelity leading the way for other large title underwriters and banks to cut employee benefits?