Fidelity Investments reported strong growth in defined contribution sales commitments during the first half of 2012. The company attracted 838 new clients, representing 522,000 participants and $25.2 billion in assets under administration, up $36% from the $18.5 billion in sales commitments in the first half of 2011.

Advisors helped drive the growth, bringing in more than 450 new clients with close to 100,000 participants and $2.6 billion for Fidelity. The advisor-sold 401(k) plans reeled in many small business owners with up to 500 employees, Steve Patterson, executive vice president of sales for Fidelity Personal and Workplace Investing, said in an interview.

The number of advisor-sold plans was up about 23% from a year ago, when 371 plans were sold, according to Patterson.

Fidelity nabbed new clients of all sizes and experienced sales growth across a variety of industries and markets. The company signed Fortune 500 companies, including Kraft Foods with 51,000 participants representing $6.2 billion in new assets under administration. It also signed many universities and other organizations in the tax-exempt market, logging sales commitments that represented nearly $2.5 billion in assets under administration.

In addition to new sales, Fidelity renewed more than $80 billion in business from existing clients in the first half of 2012.

"The defined contribution market continues to be highly competitive and clients are increasingly focused on selecting a plan administrative service provider that has the experience and expertise to help them derive maximum value out of their workplace savings plan," Jeff Lagarce, executive vice president, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments, said in a statement.