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Fidelity Tech Fund Manager Jumps Ship

Andrew Kaplan, who ran Select Technology and Select Developing Communications, has left.

Fidelity portfolio manager Andrew Kaplan, who scored triple-digit returns last year on the

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Select Technology and

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Select Developing Communications funds, is leaving for a new job with an undisclosed asset manager.

He's the second Fidelity tech manager to bolt after posting eye-popping returns last year. Like baseball players who shine in the final year of their contracts, technology money managers are finding a lot of interest in the free-agent market.

"I think it's a strong job market for everyone. But for these guys, there's no question their future got dazzlingly bright last year," says Jim Lowell, editor of independent newsletter


The $5.6 billion Select Technology fund returned 132% in 1999, and the $2.3 billion Select Developing Communications fund posted a 122% return.

Lawrence Rakers, who leads Fidelity's technology research group, took over Select Technology on Monday. He'll continue to run the $3.1 billion

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Select Computers fund and the $2.5 billion

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Advisor Technology fund, which he took over at the end of last year when Michael Tempero packed up his bags and shipped out, reportedly for

Harvard Management

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, the nonprofit money-management unit of

Harvard University


Select Developing Communications is now run by Rajiv Kaul, who is probably used to managing a hot sector. Last year he managed

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Select Biotechnology to a 77% return, beating the average health care fund by more than 58 percentage points.

Fidelity announced the changes in a very low-key manner on Monday, after Kaplan had left the funds. The news was buried in an announcement that Patricia Satterthwaite will take over the $600 million

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Emerging Markets fund April 1.

In any case, investors in the funds shouldn't see sweeping strategy shifts or portfolio turnover with the new managers, says Lowell.

Manager moves aren't uncommon at Fidelity, where the average manager tenure is less than three years, according to


. Manager shuffles are particularly common on the firm's Select funds -- a proving ground where analysts learn the portfolio management ropes by running small funds focusing on one industry sector or subsector. Legends like current

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Magellan manager Robert Stansky started out on Select funds.

To the firm's credit, the Select funds rarely get the hiccups, despite the revolving door for managers. Prior to Monday's moves, Fidelity has changed managers on 22 funds -- Select and others -- in the past three months.

As for Satterthwaite, the new Emerging Markets fund manager, she'll also take the reins of several offshore emerging-markets funds for foreign investors and she'll continue to manage

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Latin America,

Advisor Latin America

and offshore funds focusing on that region.

She replaces David Stewart, who will leave portfolio management to take a post with

Fidelity Pensions Management

, where he'll oversee the firm's institutional investment efforts in Europe. Stewart took over the fund at the end of 1997. Under his leadership, it performed slightly better than its average peer, according to Morningstar.