Edward “Ned” Johnson III, who is responsible for revolutionizing the money-management industry by promoting mutual funds for retirement plans and money market checking accounts while being the head of Fidelity Investments, passed away on March 23 at his home Wellington, Fla at the age of 91.
Fidelity confirmed the death but did not provide the cause of death.
“I was not sure if I would find the investment business interesting,” Johnson wrote in a 1996 magazine article, “Adventures of a Contrarian.” “My father had given me a healthy respect for the market — a respect that came from his own experience watching a whole generation lose money in the late 1920s and 1930s. As a child, I knew you were not to play with the market, in the same way I knew not to play with matches, unless you knew what you were doing.”
Mr. Johnson escalated Fidelity to diversify from its mainstay mutual funds into employee-benefit services, a discount stock brokerage and institutional fund management. He led Fidelity to invest in less liquid assets, including real estate and biotechnology start-ups.
In addition to his wife Elizabeth, who is known as Lillie, he is survived by his daughter, two other children; and seven grandchildren.