Outgoing Fidelity fund manager Anthony Bolton has revealed he made a shortlist of "three or four" people he felt could succeed him - and admitted Sanjeev Shah topped the list.
Shah was last night named as the man who will replace star performer Bolton as the new manager of the £3.2bn Fidelity Special Situations fund and will take full ownership of the fund on January 1 next year. He will also assume control of the £400m Fidelity Special Values investment trust from the same date.
He currently runs Fidelity’s offshore European Aggressive fund and previously ran the firm's UK Aggressive portfolio where he notched up three years of strong returns.
Speaking at the official unveiling of Shah as his replacement, Bolton says: “I have worked with Sanjeev for 11 years, six as an analyst.
“He is a great fund manager as he has shown on the UK Aggressive fund and he has a similar style to me.
“He is a bottom-up stock picker and very much a contrarian investor. He is also very strong on valuation. At the heart of what he does is looking for valuation anomalies and finding those he thinks will be corrected in the future.”
Sanjeev Shah, who reveals he was first approached in December for the role but made his final decision in February, adds: “I’m very excited to be taking this role.
“The style of this fund is similar to both the UK Aggressive and European Aggressive funds, full of contrarian ideas and driven by fundamental analysis.”
Shah reveals he will spend the next four months working closely with the Special Situations team to get to grips with the workings of the fund and to start introducing his own ideas.
He also says he will be taking advantage of new powers to use derivatives under UCITS III, although admits he has no experience of doing so.
The announcement of Bolton’s successor has been the most eagerly anticipated event in the fund management industry in recent years.
The original UK Special Situations fund was split in two in September 2006 into Fidelity Special Situations run by Bolton and Global Special Situations managed by Jorma Korhonen.
Bolton was worried the size of the original fund, which was around £6bn, could start to impact on performance.
As he intended to relinquish the fund at the end of this year, a split would also mean his successors were running smaller portfolios rather than a huge £6bn mandate.
Bolton will continue to work as a mentor for analysts and managers at Fidelity by developing the European and UK research teams.
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