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There’s no place like home

Fidelity has revealed further changes to its floundering UK range this week following the announcement that John Stavis is to take a six-month sabbatical from the firm.

Stavis leaves on July 1, having been at the firm since 1995. Management of his £653m income plus fund passes to Michael Clark, while the £226m growth and income and the UK portion of moneybuilder balanced will pass to Matt Siddle.

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

Stavis has struggled with both his UK income plus and growth and income funds failing to outperform their sector average in the past three years, according to figures from the Investment Management Association.

The decision to replace him on the fund, rather than allowing him to return in the same role is hardly a surprise according to Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier

He says: “The performance has been mediocre in the long term and I would not be surprised if he eventually left the firm. Equity income has always been a problem for the UK offering and they have to get it right.”

Fidelity has made no secret of its desire to improve the fortunes of its UK range across the piece, particularly following a difficult 2006 for the majority of funds.

And the group has already replaced the managers on its UK growth and UK aggressive funds after two years of lacklustre performance with Mark Hodges being replaced by Aruna Karunathilake on the £277m UK aggressive fund and Tom Ewing is taking over from Carlos Moreno on the £774m UK growth fund at the end of 2007.

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

Dampier believes that the silent assassin may have had a role to play in the decision to change managers for the long term.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “The fact that he was once a replacement for Bolton indicates how hastily the label of star manager is made.”

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