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Mixed reception as Frontini takes over Euro fund

Financial Express is backing Fidelity’s decision to replace Sanjeev Shah on its 1.8bn European aggressive fund with Mario Frontini.

The appointment raised eyebrows as Frontini is a relative unknown in the UK retail market but Financial Express fund analyst Sarah Beasley points to his strong performance on Fidelity’s Luxemburg-domiciled Italy fund since he took it over in April 2004.

The fund was top of its peer group, the Financial Express equity -Europe single-country sector, returning 153.74 per cent.

Beasley says Frontini’s appointment should provide continuity of management style. Like Shah, he adopts a bottom-up approach to stockpicking.

She says: “The one big difference the two do have is that while Frontini does select some special situations stocks, his approach on the Italy fund has not seen him concentrate on these stocks in the same way that Shah has during his tenure on the fund.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “I do not know anything about Frontini and I do not think you will find many IFAs who do.

“I do not mind the promotion of homegrown talent but constant changes of fund managers annoy me no end. They make no sense. Presumably, Frontini was doing well on his last fund, so why move him? Also, Shah would have had a five-year track in the UK which would have been useful. Bolton ran the special situations fund for over 20 years. That is the kind of thing I like to see.”

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