Euro E Bank Whiz

Fidelity brushed off Gerhard Huber's big idea for online financial services. Big mistake

Like all good Internet stories, this one starts in a garage. Not in Silicon Valley, but at a well-appointed abode in Surrey, England. In 1997, the brokerage arm of Boston mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments retreated from Europe, axing London-based Managing Director Gerhard Huber and a half- dozen of his colleagues. The laid-off financiers took their generous severance packages, retreated to Huber's garage, and plotted their future. "We had wanted to create a financial supermarket and deliver it through the Internet for Fidelity," recalls Huber. "Since they didn't want our idea, we decided to do it by ourselves."

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