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Rival funds compete for special sits cash

With some investment advisers having put Fidelity special sits on hold this week, Chris Salih says some of its rivals are stepping up their marketing campaigns.

Most leading investment advisers have put Fidelity’s flagship £3.2bn special situations fund on hold after Sanjeev Shah was named as the successor to fund manager legend Anthony Bolton last week.

With Shah not due to take over the fund until next January, the handover process is going to be lengthy and Hargreaves Lansdown, Bestinvest and Chelsea Financial Services say they will not recommend it until Shah beds down into his new role. This means the battle is on for new money that would have flowed into Fidelity special sits.

Several rival funds, such as M&G recovery, are already stepping up their marketing efforts.

At £2.5bn, M&G recovery is almost as big as Fidelity UK special sits and fund manager Tom Dobell has recorded top-quartile performance over three and five years after taking over from veteran manager Richard Hughes in 2000.

Artemis UK special situations and Axa Framlington UK select opportunities have also been put forward as alternatives.

In a Money Marketing poll of 100 investment advisers following Fidelity’s announcement that it was to split special sits into global and UK mandates, the Artemis fund got the backing of 24 per cent as their favourite alternative.

Managed by Derek Stuart, the fund takes a multi-cap approach to investing although typically with a bias toward mid and small-cap stocks.

Axa Framlington UK select opportunities, which has a very strong long-term track record managed by Nigel Thomas, has also received adviser backing.

A number of smaller funds have been put forward. Merrill Lynch UK special situations and Rensburg UK select growth are both £500m-plus vehicles that are growing fast.

Several other funds, from firms such as Investec, F&C and Jupiter, are still in their infancy in terms of capacity.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “The size of the fund does not matter as an adviser should always go for the best manager in the market which, for me, is Mark Hall of Rensburg at the moment.”

Over three years, Fidelity UK special situations is up by 82.8 per cent, ranking it 33rd out of 253 funds in the UK all companies sector.

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