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This week in Investment

With less than a month to go until the big split. Fidelity eyes will be closely watching the special situations fund for signs of outflows. From a peak of 6.5bn a few months ago, money appears to be trickling out and this week the fund dipped under 6bn.

The fund is now second to Neil Woodford’s Invesco Perpetual high income fund which weighs in at over 6.1bn but this could hardly be called a disastrous leakage by Fidelity for what is after all, still a huge fund.

With the fund due to be split on September 18 into Anthony Bolton’s UK mandate and Jorma Korhonen’s global mandate, some intermediaries believe the rate of redemptions may increase following the split as investors in the global portion look at some of the other attractive global fund propositions elsewhere.

It is understandable that investors may want to shop around for global alternatives, especially as switching between funds has probably never been cheaper, with Fidelity’s own FundsNetwork currently offering cheap rates for investors moving between funds on their platform.

Other advisors seem equally happy to give Mr Korhonen the chance to prove himself as a decent global investor arguing that because Anthony Bolton has picked him out as his successor, he deserves some time to show what he can do.

After a stellar City career it seems unlikely that Bolton would put his reputation on the line by choosing a successor who is not up to the job, not to mention the fact that it would be completely out of character for a man known for his self-effacing attitude to his success.

The thorny issue that Fidelity is still some way from solving however is what it does when the most famous stock picker of his generation does retire.

Despite numerous calls in certain IFA quarters for the group to come clean on Bolton’s successor for the UK portion of the fund, it is still unclear who will manage the fund when Bolton steps back from fund management at the end of 2007.

Fidelity’s preferred method is always to promote from within, and with the sheer number of analysts at their disposal, take Mr Korhonen stepping up to the plate for example, the company is probably confident of filling the gap from within.

They must be concerned however that some leading IFAs regard their UK equities desk as underwhelming and if that view remains after next year, the company may be looking at some serious outflows.

One thing you can be certain of however, is that the whole media circus will be in full swing again next June when the successor is finally unveiled.

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