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Fidelity picks duo to take on Stavis funds

Fidelity has picked Michael Clark and Matt Siddle to take over the income plus and growth and income funds from John Stavis, who is taking a six-month sabbatical.

Stavis will leave on July 1, having been at the firm since 1995. He manages the £653m income plus fund and the £226m growth and income fund, which will pass to Clark and Siddle respectively.

Siddle will also manage the UK equity sleeve of the Moneybuilder balanced fund.

Stavis is set to return in January 2009 but in an alternative investment role to be decided by the firm.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “The performance has been mediocre in the long term and I would not be surprised if he eventually left the firm. Equ ity income has always been a problem for the UK offering and they have to get it right.”

Stavis was at one point considered as a replacement for Anthony Bolton on the flagship UK special situations fund before Sanjeev Shah was given the job last year.

Dampier says: “I would not be surprised if the silent assassin had something to do with the handover.”

Both funds have underperformed their respective sectors in the past three years, according to Investment Management Association figures.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “Both funds are currently in the first draft of our relegation zone, indicating consistent underperformance. I am not surprised at the change and the fact that he was once a replacement for Bolton indicates how hast-ily the label of star manager is made.”

Fidelity head of IFA channel Peter Hicks says: “John has done a good job at Fidelity and recent figures are misguided as his value-oriented style has clashed with the market.”

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