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Shah to step down as manager of Fidelity Special Situations Fund

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Sanjeev Shah is to step down as manager of the Fidelity Special Situations fund at the end of 2013.

 
Alex Wright, manager of the Fidelity UK Smaller Companies fund, will take over.
 
Mark Dampier, head of investment research, says: “Sanjeev Shah took over the reins from Anthony Bolton in January 2008. The economic timing couldn’t have been worse, which made following in the footsteps of one of the UK’s best known fund managers, Anthony Bolton, all the more testing.
 
“Although it has been a bumpy ride, investors should be pleased with the results. While 2010 and 2011 were particularly difficult years for the fund; as its holdings in banks and other economically sensitive areas fell as the euro crisis worsened, we stuck with the fund and it remained on the Wealth 150 list. Sanjeev Shah faced criticism and it would have been easy for him to cave in and change his approach. However, he stuck to his guns, using share price falls to top-up his favoured holdings in unloved areas of the market, where he felt there was scope for a transformation in fortunes. This approach was vindicated and the fund recovered and has performed strongly since.
 
“Sanjeev Shah remains at the helm of the fund for the time being, and the transition to Alex Wright looks to be well organised. Alex follows the same contrarian/value approach the fund is known for, which ensures a good degree of consistency. We will meet with Alex Wright again to discuss and evaluate his ability to perform the new role. In the meantime, we believe investors willing to take a long-term view, and ride out periods of stock market volatility, should stick with the Fidelity Special Situations Fund, and it remains on the Wealth 150 list.”
 
Wright has been with Fidelity for 12 years. As an analyst, he worked closely with both Bolton and Shah, the two previous managers of the Fidelity Special Situations Fund.
 
Wright began to manage client assets in 2008 with the launch of the Fidelity UK Smaller Companies Fund. In 2010 he broadened his remit to the full market-cap spectrum and began to work more closely with Shah on the Fidelity Special Situations Fund. In September 2012 Wright took over the Fidelity Special Values investment trust from Shah.
 
Shah (pictured) and Dampier share a relatively common investment style in looking for long-term cash generative businesses, under researched by the market and thus cheap, typically found in the mid to small cap area.

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