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How Do You Manage $568 Billion?

At Fidelity, Derek Young relies on the skills he honed at Vanderbilt

Derek Young
President Japan and Member of the Global Operating Committee, Fidelity International; Board Chair, Asia Alumni Board
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Vanderbilt MBA 1991
Troy University B.S. 1986

If you’re one of the millions of investors who invest in managed accounts or mutual funds at Fidelity Investments, then you know Derek Young’s work. Derek leads an investment division at Fidelity that provides investors with solutions that can help them meet their financial needs, from retirement and college planning to wealth management and tax-sensitive investing. His division’s clients include individuals, intermediaries and institutions.

“We try to make investments simple for the investor,” he says, “by devising strategies for today and through retirement.”

Derek’s business is responsible for $568 billion in assets under management. His team manages an array of investment solutions as well as the online retirement planning and calculation tools on Fidelity.com. It also provides personalized wealth management strategies for Fidelity’s high net worth clients looking to build, preserve and transfer their wealth.

Derek keeps a steady eye on market activity and world trends, which affect the balance of assets in any portfolio. He notes that currently, the overall U.S. economy is expanding and benefiting from a decline in oil prices.

“This backdrop should be generally constructive for domestic equities,” he says, adding that global economic trends remain slower. He cautions, however, that trying to time the market by predicting change is difficult for even the very best investors. “It is often the source of significant losses for individual investors in particular,” he says.

Derek began contemplating a career in investment management following an internship between his first and second year at Owen. “I worked with the state (of Tennessee) pension plan, where we were dealing with large sums of money,” he recalls. “After that I decided to work toward becoming a chartered financial analyst.” His career received a kick-start one afternoon in 1991 at a gathering in the Management Hall courtyard.

“Bill Taylor from the Federal Reserve Bank spoke to Professor Dewey Daane’s class that day,” recalls Derek. “After class I invited him to come to the party. We were talking about the tough job market for MBAs at that time, and he said, ‘If you send me your résumé, you’ve got a job.’”

Derek took Taylor up on the offer and after commencement became a senior financial analyst in charge of derivatives and capital markets for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.

He later joined KPMG as a senior manager in regulator risk management practice. “I was trading derivatives, which are important tools when used appropriately,” he says. “My finance professor, Hans Stoll, had a strong background in derivatives, which was cutting edge at the time. His instruction was helpful to me at the Federal Reserve and with KPMG.”

Since joining Fidelity in 1996, Derek has held a number of positions within the organization. Before his promotion to president of the company’s global asset allocation division in 2011, he was Fidelity’s chief investment officer for asset allocation.

Today, Derek is a member of the Owen School’s alumni board and says the school’s supportive culture has also stood him well professionally. “Vanderbilt MBAs have a unique ability to work in teams and partner with their peers rather than achieving their personal goals at the expense of their teammates,” he says. “The sum of the whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

"If you send me your resume, you’ve got a job."