A new era began on Monday for the UK's most successful investment fund, as trading resumed in Fidelity Special Situations after the fund was split in two.
Dealing in the 6 billion pound UK open ended investment company, run by Britain's top stock picker, Anthony Bolton, 56, was suspended at noon on Thursday and began again today, to allow time for the necessary administration associated with the split.
One fund will continue to adhere to the current UK focused investment mandate and will be run by Bolton the manager since the fund's inception in 1979 until the end of 2007. After that, an as yet unnamed successor will take over.
The other half of Special Situations, to be known as Fidelity Global Special Situations, will follow a global investment mandate. Aimed at the more adventurous client, the fund will invest in under valued companies around the world and be unconstrained by benchmark, geography or sector.
The global equity market is 10 times larger than the UK market, so a worldwide remit opens up a much larger range of opportunities.
Bolton said on Monday: If I were asked to a launch a Special Situations fund today as I was in 1979, then I would not restrict the fund to mostly UK shares.
Why narrow your investment horizons to a single country when so many companies are global in nature regardless of where they happen to have a stock market listing?
The new fund will be managed by Bolton until the end of 2006, after which Jorma Korhonen, 40 a relatively unknown global equities manager, who has worked at Fidelity for 10 years will take the reins.
There was concern among some quarters that Korhonen a little known Finn with less than five years' experience of managing money had been catapulted into the high flying post. He has been an analyst at Fidelity since 1996, but started managing money only in 2002.
However, shareholders approved the move at a meeting on July 27. They will have their assets split equally between the two funds and be allowed a month long period to switch, free of charge, to any other Fidelity fund, other than UK Special Situations.
Financial advisers said on Monday the fund's 250,000 investors should consider whether a global fund fits with their asset allocation needs and risk profile, when deciding whether to stay or go.
Andrew Gadd, head of research at independent financial adviser (IFA) Lighthouse Group, said: There is no universal right or wrong answer as to whether an individual should retain either the Special Situations Fund currently or the Global Special Situations Fund.
An important question to consider is whether a special situations fund global or otherwise currently fits into asset allocation and risk requirements.
Different individuals have different aims, objectives and risk profiles and these can change over time. It's, therefore, important to ensure current holdings match current requirements.
Those seeking alternatives to the Fidelity funds could consider Jupiter Undervalued Assets, M&G Recovery and Merrill Lynch UK Special Situations, he said.
However, Gadd said the outlook for those who retained their holdings in the newly split funds was rosy.
He believed the new fund was a good fit with Korhonen's strengths of picking stocks from wherever he finds the best ideas, with an unconstrained mandate and no capacity issues.
Jorma Korhonen has lived in six different countries, so is probably well qualified to manage a global fund, said Gadd. He also personally travels extensively in 2005 he spent 149 days abroad.
Other experts agreed. Steven Forbes, managing director at Alan Steel Asset Management, said: If you were to look up the definition of 'contrarian' in the dictionary, it would say: 'An investor who invests in stocks when they are out of favour, and sells those that are widely popular.'
Most of the world's leading stock pickers would fall into this category; Warren Buffett and David Dreman in the US, and Anthony Bolton in the UK are among the best known.
But it would not surprise me if we were to add the name of Jorma Korhonen to this elite list in the future.
Shane Balkham, an IFA at Bates Millfield, pointed to the strength of Fidelity's in house research team it has access to more than 500 fund managers and investment researchers in a dozen countries around the world and said he would be recommending the global fund to his clients.
Bolton picked Korhonen who currently runs two small Fidelity funds for Japanese and Australian retail investors, with a combined value of less than 120 million pounds over better known names at Fidelity, such as Tim McCarron and Sanjeev Shah.
Korhonen plans to invest the fund in 100 200 companies, usually with a market value in the 550 million to 5.5 billion pound range. Over the past 18 months, he said he had shifted focus from Japan to America, where he now sees many companies on attractive valuations.
The fund manager said on Monday: A global portfolio opens up so many more opportunities than a UK fund.
I have spent the past decade travelling the world looking for investment ideas and Global Special Situations is the perfect vehicle for these. Unearthing special situations stocks means going against the consensus.
Shareholders also approved a move that has given the fund managers wider investment powers under new European Union legislation. The adoption of UCITS III regulations will allow Bolton and Korhonen to pursue more diverse investment opportunities and manage risk more efficiently.
The new powers will enable them to use derivatives and exchange traded funds to manage market volatility. They can also use specific put options to take advantage of analysts' research for example, rather than shorting the market, they will be able to short an individual stock or set of stocks, if analysts put a strong sell on a certain stock that they do not hold.
Fidelity said the new powers would be used cautiously and carefully and Gadd said the new fund would have a similar risk profile to the old one.
Liquidity risk in the 'new' fund will be less than in the old one as the universe is substantially larger, so Korhonen doesn't need to go down the market cap scale, he said.
Currency risk will, however, be slightly higher, but not necessarily as high as perceived.
Investors don't think about currency risk when they invest in UK-listed companies: for example, when an investor purchases shares in GlaxoSmithKline he or she actually takes a negative view on sterling as most of Glaxo's revenues are in (U.S.) dollars.
Fidelity Special Situations was the first fund Fidelity launched. It is the most successful UK investment fund of the past 26 years, being the top performing UK retail fund since its inception in December 1979.
Under Bolton's management, it has turned an investment of 1,000 pounds then into more than 125,700 pounds today.
Fidelity declined to give details on volumes traded in the newly split funds on Monday.