Simon Read: Be wary of Bolton's Chinese comeback tour

The investment industry welcomed the news last week that fabled Fidelity fund manager Anthony Bolton is returning to the fray. What may have surprised many is his decision to move to Hong Kong and manage a China fund.

Bolton says China's growth story is an almost unprecedented investment opportunity. He believes that China is in the first year of a multi-year bull-run and it's that opportunity which has persuaded him to return to fund management.

He has a fantastic track record, managing the Fidelity Special Situations fund for 28 years during which he achieved an annualised return of 19.5 per cent, compared to just 13.5 per cent for the FTSE All-Share Index. Anyone who stuck with him from the start – in December 1979 – with a speculative £1,000 would have seen their cash grow to a decent £148,200.

But investors excited by the prospect of Bolton's return and eager to invest in his new fund – which launches next spring – should think carefully. Would you have invested in China anyway? The answer for many, I suspect, is no.

For that reason I would wait before backing Bolton on this occasion. One City trader compared his return to that of a prize fighter making one last comeback. While I hope that Bolton does score a knock-out, there is clearly a risk that this is one fight too far for the fund manager.

Tax amnesty extended

HM Revenue & Customs has extended its amnesty to taxpayers with offshore investments, giving them more time to come forward. The New Disclosure Opportunity, announced in this year's Budget, requires taxpayers with undisclosed overseas income to notify HMRC of an intention to disclose their income and then send in full details.

The Revenue originally gave people until tomorrow to come forward, but has extended that to 4 January. Anyone who doesn't come forward faces possible investigation and fines.

The Revenue is gathering information from 308 banks in the UK. In other words, it will soon know if you have cash in an offshore account. HMRC said its move is recognition of the fact that some people may have not yet heard from their banks. "We know that some bank customers will not be contacted in good time for the original deadline of 30 November so in the interests of fairness we have decided to extend our deadline by a month."

But I believe this helpful move comes ahead of a chilling, much harder line from tax authorities. The pre-Budget report on 9 December could include new measures cracking down on tax-evaders and 2010 is likely to see some high-profile criminal prosecutions of some of those caught.

If you have got cash tucked away in an overseas account, use this breathing space to get your tax in order. Delay and you could face severe penalties.

Housing on path to normality

House prices have climbed for five months in a row, according to Land Registry figures. Prices in October climbed 0.6 per cent over September leaving the average house price in England and Wales at £159,546.

There's been much speculation about a double-dip in the economy which could hit the fragile housing market. So the steady increase in prices over the past few months is a sign that normality is beginning to return.

Actual activity – ie sales – is still very low, which shows how far from a buoyant market we are. But a gentle growth in movement is a good sign that we are not going to rush back to the market madness of recent years.

For people thinking of dipping a toe back into the market, the signs look promising, although over the year prices are still down 3.4 per cent.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

    Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent