Fund manager Bolton returns to the fray

Anthony Bolton

Star fund manager Anthony Bolton is making a surprise return to managing money  next year with the launch of a new portfolio investing in China and China-related opportunities.

The move marks the investment guru's return to active management at Fidelity International after a two-year break. During this period he has been working in a specially created role, as president of investments for the firm.

Bolton says: "I firmly believe that China is the investment opportunity of the next decade. I have been a regular visitor to China since 2004, when I started meeting and investing in Chinese companies. After spending the last few months in Asia, I have become increasingly excited by the prospect of managing a portfolio investing in the tremendous growth potential of China."

Bolton will move out to Hong Kong in the early part of 2010 and the portfolio is likely to be launched at the end of the first quarter. It will invest in Chinese companies wherever they are listed in the world, with further details to be announced next year.

But some investment advisers are urging caution. "Anthony Bolton coming back to manage money is going to attract a lot of interest from investors. His reputation as a fund manager is impeccable," says Adrian Lowcock, senior investment adviser at Bestinvest. "However, it is important to remember his experience and track record are all from investing in the UK and Europe."  

Bolton is best known for running Fidelity's Special Situations Fund, which he managed from its launch in December 1979 until the end of 2007.

Over this 28-year period, the fund achieved an annualised return of 19.5% (compared to 13.5% for the FTSE All-Share Index). During his tenure, a lump sum of £1,000, invested in the fund at launch, grew in value to £148,200.

"The potential risk is some investors may invest in the manager without considering the risk implications. I would urge anyone who is looking to invest in China to remember the importance of diversification," says Lowcock.

The Special Situations Fund began investing in China in 2004, and Bolton has been a regular visitor to the region since.

His relocation follows that of HSBC boss Michael Geoghegan, who moved from London to Hong Kong in February as part of the bank's strategy to focus on emerging markets. The bank, which was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, says Asia is now its "strategically most important region".

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