Nov. 11, 2002 — Fidelity Investments will remove Robert Bertelson as the portfolio manager of its $3.9 billion Fidelity Aggressive Growth Fund (FDEGX), effective November 15, and replace him with Rajiv Kaul.
The fund has suffered steep losses over the past couple of years, falling 47.3% in 2001, and 27.1% in 2000. Year to date through November 8, the portfolio has dropped 42.9%.
For the three-year period ended Oct. 31, 2002, Fidelity Aggressive Growth declined 34% on an average annualized basis, versus 16.1% for its large-cap growth fund peers.
“The fund’s performance has not been where we would like it to be,” said Vin Loporchio, a spokesman for Fidelity. “We think this appointment is in the best interest of the fund’s shareholders.”
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Loporchio noted that Bertelson took over management of the fund in February 2000, which was right at the peak for aggressive growth stocks. “Thus, he has arguably had to manage it through one of worst markets in decades for that style,” he said.
Fidelity Aggressive Growth skyrocketed 103.5% in 1999, the year prior to Bertelson’s stewardship. Erin Sullivan, who had piloted the fund from April 1997 until Bertelson took over, resigned from Fidelity in February 2000 to start a hedge fund.
John Bonnanzio, editor of Fidelity Insight, a newsletter that follows Fidelity, noted Bertelson’s “inauspicious beginning” as the NASDAQ was peaking, as well as the managers underperformance of the index over his tenure.