Fidelity Worldwide Investment has announced £549.8m Fidelity China Special Situations manager Anthony Bolton is retiring in April 2014 and will be replaced by fund manager Dale Nicholls.
Bolton had already informed shareholders last year that he would extend his tenure on the trust to April 2014. After this time, Bolton will continue as an adviser to Fidelity and a trustee of its charitable foundations.
The manager will stay at the helm of the trust until his retirement. He and Nicholls will work together up to then to ensure an orderly handover of the portfolio.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “Anthony has had a fantastic career; he is rightly regarded as one of the best active managers of recent decades. His China fund’s performance in recent years has tarnished this record slightly, though it has shown signs of recovery in the past year.”
Fidelity says the appointment of Nicholls reflects the wish of the board to continue with the current investment approach and strategy following the change of manager. The company says, like Bolton, Nicholls is a bottom-up stock picker with a growth bias and a significant tilt towards smaller and mid-cap companies.
Nicholls has 17 years’ investment experience and has managed the Fidelity Funds Pacific Fund since September 2003. Over that period he has returned 154 per cent versus an index return of 117 per cent.
FCSS chairman John Owen says: “Stepping into the shoes of Anthony is a significant challenge so we are delighted to have appointed a portfolio manager with a demonstrable record of success investing in the Asia Pacific region and specifically within China.
“We selected Dale to continue the research-driven stock-picking approach which we continue to believe is the route to success in this exciting market.”
Commenting on the management of the trust’s share rating, Owen says: “The company has always sought to address significant imbalances between supply and demand of its shares and to manage its share rating. The board has various powers granted to it to manage this, which it uses at its discretion.
“The board currently has powers enabling it to buy back up to 14.99 per cent of shares in issue in any one year and the board intends to renew these powers at the AGM on 24 July.
“The board will continue to monitor the share rating and use any other tools, such as tender offers or enhanced buybacks at its disposal (subject to shareholder approval, as required) to manage any imbalances between supply and demand of its shares.”