Fidelity's Bolton extends stay at China fund

LONDON Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:53pm BST

Anthony Bolton, president for investments at Fidelity International, an affiliate of Boston-based Fidelity Investments, the world's biggest mutual fund firm, speaks during a news conference in Seoul October 21, 2009. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Anthony Bolton, president for investments at Fidelity International, an affiliate of Boston-based Fidelity Investments, the world's biggest mutual fund firm, speaks during a news conference in Seoul October 21, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

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LONDON (Reuters) - Fund manager Anthony Bolton is to stay at the helm of his Fidelity China fund for at least two more years, giving one of Britain's best-known investors more time to try and turn around poor performance.

Bolton, who relocated to Asia in 2010, has decided to extend his minimum tenure running the Fidelity China Special Situations Fund (FCSS.L) to April 2014 from April 2013, the fund said in a statement on Monday.

The manager's decision comes amid a period of poor performance at the fund, which Bolton himself has described as "disappointing".

His fund's net asset value has fallen around 15 percent since launching in April 2010, underperforming a 7 percent drop in the MSCI China Index .MICN00000PHK.

Bolton forged a reputation as one of the UK's savviest stock-pickers during 28 years managing Fidelity's flagship Special Situations fund, turning 1,000 pounds invested at the start into almost 150,000 pounds by the time he stepped down from day-to-day management in 2007.

But his time in Asia is proving much tougher.

Last year Bolton said his optimism in China's prospects had been "severely tested" after a slide in the country's stock market, which was particularly pronounced for the small and medium-sized stocks he owned.

Among the challenges of investing in China, Bolton has acknowledged how much tougher it is to identify corporate governance problems at Chinese companies than in the UK.

Last year a spate of accounting scandals at Chinese companies shook confidence in the country.

Shares in the fund, which runs assets of almost 520 million pounds ($826 million), are trading at close to 79 pence, a six percent discount to its net asset value. ($1 = 0.6295 British pounds)

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by David Cowell)

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