Fidelity International is to hand over half the assets currently looked after by its star fund manager, Anthony Bolton, to an unknown Finnish colleague who has no previous experience of managing retail investors' money in the UK.
The UK's largest retail fund manager announced yesterday that Jorma Korhonen will be given control of £3bn worth of assets in the Fidelity Special Situations fund, when the £6bn open-ended investment company is split in two in September.
Fidelity said in September that Mr Bolton's Special Situations would be split in half in the run-up to his retirement from day-to-day management of what has been the best-performing fund in the UK over the past 25 years.
Yesterday it confirmed that from September, Mr Bolton will run a pared-down version of the current Special Situations fund. The other £3bn of investors' money will be moved into a new fund, Fidelity Global Special Situations, which will be run by Mr Korhonen with a brief to find investment opportunities from around the world.
Investment analysts and independent financial advisers were surprised by the announcement, because Fidelity had been expected to announce a better-known replacement. Although Mr Korhonen is well-respected at Fidelity, where he has worked for 10 years, he has never run funds on behalf of the manager's UK customers, and currently works with clients in Australia and Japan.
Fidelity has yet to announce a new manager for the UK-focused Special Situations fund, where Mr Bolton plans to step down completely at the end of 2007. However, the appointment of Mr Korhonen is part of a continuing trend at the biggest fund managers to find new investment talent. Many of Fidelity's rivals have become disenchanted with paying star managers huge salaries only for them to jump ship when offered more money elsewhere.
Independent financial advisers are also keen to identify the next generation of up-and-coming fund managers. The Independent asked a number of leading investment experts to pick their star fund managers of the future, and here is a list of those we reckon are worth watching.
Jamie Allsopp New Star Asset Management
John Duffield, the multimillionaire founder of New Star, is so convinced by the potential of his young protégé, Jamie Allsopp, 27, that he has given him £1m of his own money to look after. Mr Duffield reckons Mr Allsopp could be as successful as William Littlewood, the star he nurtured at Jupiter Asset Management, who eventually wound up running £1.5bn of investors' cash.
For now, Mr Allsopp's Hidden Values fund is small, at just £34m, but over the three years to the end of May, it was the fourth best performer in a sector with 184 funds, producing a return after charges of 145 per cent.
Liz Eaton Credit Suisse
Liz Eaton, 31, may be the only woman on the list of rising fund manager stars, but she is also the only specialist in emerging European equities, the area where Mr Bolton originally made his name.
Ms Eaton, who joined Credit Suisse in 1998 after graduating from Wharton Business School, served an apprenticeship as an analyst before being appointed to manage Credit Suisse European Frontiers in October. Since then, her performance has been exemplary. In the first six months of this year, her fund returned 42 per cent after charges, the third best result in a 24-strong sector.
Cedric de Fonclare Jupiter Asset Management
As a Frenchman, M. de Fonclare, 33, was especially pleased to be promoted to head Jupiter's European Special Situations Fund on Bastille Day on 14 July last year. The appointment surprised some analysts, because the previously unknown Sorbonne graduate would inherit the track record of Leon Howard-Spink, a longstanding Jupiter star.
Darius McDermott, the managing director of the independent financial adviser Chelsea Financial Services, said: "Many of us were sceptical about his appointment, but he has not let anyone down and is ranked top percentile so far." The latest figures put European Special Situations at eighth of 108 funds since M. de Fonclare took over.
Martin Cobb Franklin Templeton
Citywire, the independent fund analyst, gives its most highly regarded funds an AAA rating. However, to qualify, managers must have a three-year track record. Patrick Sherwen, of Citywire, says this is the only reason Mr Cobb, 35, has not yet earned the top rating. "He is an unfamiliar name, but that is the point really." Mr Cobb, who started out at the Edinburgh fund managers Baillie Gifford and then Stewart Ivory, has run Templeton UK Equity for the past two-and-a-half. It is currently comfortably first quartile over that period.
Tom Dobell M&G
Mr Dobell, 41, has for the past five years run the M&G Recovery Fund, a rival to Fidelity Special Situations. Its performance since Mr Dobell took the helm, has come closer to Fidelity's product than most others - over the past three years, for example, Recovery is up 109 per cent compared to 117 per cent at Special Situations.
The fund has an AA rating from Citywire and a five-star grade, the top rating possible, from the ratings agency Standard & Poor's. "Mr Dobell has delivered good returns following a comparable strategy to Mr Bolton," Mr Sherwen said.
Ajay Gambhir JP Morgan Fleming
Mr Gambhir, 38, has been in overall charge of JP Morgan's suite of "high alpha" funds - which take extra risk in order to generate extra return - since 1999, and manages the UK Dynamic and European Dynamic funds. Both have won AAA ratings from Citywire. "Performance of both funds has been consistently top quartile - the UK fund, in particular, has not been out of the top 10 over one, three and five years," Mr McDermott said.
Wesley McCoy Standard Life
"Wesley McCoy runs Standard Life's UK Growth & Income Fund on a superb basis with good stock selection and a great UK desk," Philippa Gee, the investments director of the independent financial adviser Torquil Clark said. "He is relatively unknown but has been on our shortlist for some time."
Mr McCoy, 28, joined Standard Life Investments in 1999 straight from Durham University and initially worked as an analyst. He took over UK Growth & Income last January - since then its performance has markedly improved. Over the year to the end of June, it returned 47 per cent after charges, 13 percentage points more than the average fund in its sector.
James Ridgewell New Star
Investors may not know they name, but they'll have seen the face. Along with Jamie Allsopp (see above), Mr Ridgewell, 31, was chosen last year by New Star as a poster-boy for its top-performing funds in a nationwide billboard ad campaign.
New Star does have something to boast about. Mr Ridgewell's UK Special Situations fund was up by more than 130 per cent over the three years to the end of May and has produced first-quartile returns in every period of his tenure. "Mr Ridgewell started his career at New Star working with Stephen Whittaker, one of the best fund managers of the last few decades and has clearly learned some useful lessons," Mr Yearsley said.
Sanjeev Shah Fidelity
Mr Shah had been widely tipped as the heir apparent to Anthony Bolton at Fidelity, thanks to the impressive returns that have been achieved by his UK Aggressive fund, which won a series of awards from both Lipper and Standard & Poor's for consistent top-quartile performance. Earlier this year, Mr Shah, 35, was moved to Fidelity's European fund, a shift that analysts suggest is a sign he is being groomed for a bigger role at Fidelity. "He is definitely one who could be top of the pops for many years to come," said Ben Yearsley, the head of investments at the independent financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown.
Philip Wolstencroft Artemis
The oldest manager in the up-and-coming list, at 43, Mr Wolstencroft is the recommendation of Paul Kim, who runs funds of funds for Norwich Union. He is something of a cult figure at Artemis having devised its "SmartGarp" computerised investment system, which provides specialist quantitative analysis of the market situation. "The system has proved highly effective, particularly in the bull market of the last couple of years," Mr Kim said. Mr Wolstencroft's fund, Artemis European Growth, has been the second best performer in a sector with 78 funds over the past three years, returning 134 per cent after charges.Reuse content