Another young star at
has bolted for the more lucrative hedge fund pastures, triggering a series of management changes among the Boston behemoth's funds -- especially among its tech specialists.
David Felman, who deftly steered the
Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock and
Advisor Mid Cap funds since taking their reins in August 1999, left Fidelity, the nation's largest fund shop announced Wednesday. Like
many other recent Fido migrs , including former
Fidelity Aggressive Growth fund manager
Erin Sullivan, Felman is leaving for a post with hedge shop Andor Capital Management. Hedge funds are largely unregulated portfolios for institutions and well-heeled individuals where a manager typically pockets a portion of the fund's profits, in addition to charging an asset-based fee.
Felman had built an eye-catching, if brief, track record running these mid-cap funds. His well-timed shift out of the peaking tech sector and into more defensive industries last year added up to a 32% gain in 2000 for the Mid-Cap Stock fund, compared with a 9.1% loss for the
and a 6.5% loss for its average peer, according to
. He leaves with the fund down 5.5%, even with the S&P 500 and ahead of some 75% of its competitors.
Beso Sikharulidze, manager of the
Fidelity Advisor Aggressive Growth fund since last November, will replace Felman at the helm of Mid-Cap Stock. Peter Saperstone, manager of the
Fidelity Convertible Securities
fund since November, will skipper the Fidelity Advisor Mid Cap fund.
Like most Fidelity managers, before their current assignments each cut their portfolio management teeth running sector funds. They topped their peers with each assignment, rotating from sector to sector each year or two, a custom at Fidelity.
Sikharulidze ran the
Fidelity Select Transportation fund from 1993 to 1994, the
Fidelity Health Care and
Fidelity Advisor Health Care funds from 1997 to 1999 and the
Fidelity Convertible Securities fund from 1999 through November 2000.
Saperstone ran the
Fidelity Select Construction and Housing fund from 1996 to 1997, the
Fidelity Select Air Transportation and
Select Defense and Aerospace funds from 1997 to 1998, and the
Fidelity Utilities fund and the
Fidelity Advisor Telecommunications & Utilities Growth fund from 1998 to 2000.
At least one Fidelity-watcher thinks shareholders of Felman's old charges should consider bolting, rather than wait and see if Sikharulidze and Saperstone can keep the fund ahead of its peers.
Dave Felman was clearly a gifted stock picker and market timer, and it's too early to say they can fill his shoes, says Jim Lowell, editor of the independent newsletter
. I think this is a clear instance where you sell on the news. The reason is simple: While Beso has a very good track record with the three sector funds he's run, it's very hard to see him as a compelling mid-cap stock picker based on that."
As usual, the shuffling triggered a round of management changes, including sweeping shifts among Fidelity's tech funds.
Lawrence Rakers will take Saperstone's place running the Fidelity Convertible Securities fund. A tech specialist, last year Rakers became leader of the firms tech research and took the reins of Fidelity's
Select Technology fund,
Advisor Technology fund and
Select Computers fund.
Christopher Zepf will take over the Select Technology fund, the Advisor Technology fund and lead the firm's tech research. He'll also keep running the
Fidelity Advisor Developing Communications fund. He's been at that fund's helm since the fund launched in December. It has lost 24.9% loss so far this year, compared with a 21% loss for the average communications fund, according to Morningstar.
Telis Bertsekas will take over the Select Computers fund. He'll continue running the
Select Software and Computer Services fund, which he started running in March 2000. The fund's 20% loss over the past 12 months beats 99% of its tech-fund peers, according to Morningstar.
Rajiv Kaul will take over the Fidelity Advisor Aggressive Growth fund, replacing Sikharulidze. Kaul will leave his post on the
Fidelity Select Developing Communications fund, which he has run since February. That fund's 52.2% loss over the past 12 months is even with its average competitor, according to Morningstar.
Shep Perkins will replace Kaul on the Select Developing Communications fund. Perkins will keep running the
Fidelity Select Wireless fund, which launched in December. The fund's 22.5% loss since Jan. 1 is even with the average communications fund.