Anthony Bolton defies China bears with new fund

Bloomberg Markets profiles Fidelity fund manager, Anthony Bolton, the British investing star who recently backed away from retirement and has now “staked his reputation on China”.

More in Bloomberg’s article, “Fidelity’s Bolton defies China bears with 27% return”:

…In Britain, Bolton’s reputation as a stock-picking genius was analogous to that of Peter Lynch, the manager of Boston- based Fidelity Investments’ Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990. Fidelity Investment Managers, formerly known as Fidelity International, is an affiliate of Fidelity Investments.

Now, at age 60, Bolton is in China partly to explain to clients why he has made a comeback to bet he can pick winners for the 625 million-pound Fidelity China Special Situations Fund that made its debut in April. Bolton says he’ll be able to find winning stocks that other fund managers have ignored.

So far, that self-confidence has been justified. Anyone who bought into the closed-end fund when it was introduced in April and sold on Nov. 9 would have enjoyed a 27 percent return in less than seven months. Two of his picks, The United Laboratories International Holdings Ltd. and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd, have almost quadrupled in value since the beginning of the year.

Now shares in Bolton’s fund have become so sought-after that they are trading at almost a 10 percent premium to their net asset value, prompting Fidelity to issue a statement on Nov. 9 saying it plans to sell new shares next year, giving priority to existing shareholders…”

Oftentimes, a glowing article like this can serve as the kiss of death for a fund manager (at least temporarily, as they usually follow an unusual winning streak).

Still, it’s early days for Bolton’s new fund and we have to imagine that an investor with his experience is probably experiencing more than just dumb luck in this latest success. Especially given that this year’s outperformance comes as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is down over 4% year-to-date.

Mr. Bolton faced skepticism over his China fund early on, as Controlled Greed points out in this post from January. It seems that even with a lengthy & successful investing career behind him, some people thought he would be “risking his reputation” by starting anew in China.

We shall see how it turns out, but for now, I’ll be reading on for more of Anthony Bolton’s insights on investing in China and meeting new challenges and opportunities.

Related articles and posts:

1. Lessons on investing from Anthony Bolton – Controlled Greed.

2. Interview with Anthony Bolton – The Telegraph.