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Fidelity Fifty Fund Manager Steps Down

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April 28, 2003 — Less than a year after taking over Fidelity Fifty (FFTYX), portfolio manager J. Fergus Shiel has left Fidelity Investments.

Shiel, who succeeded John Muresianu on the fund last June, stepped down to “pursue another business opportunity,” a Fidelity spokesman said. He had no other information on the money manager.

However, today’s issue of Barron’s, which initially reported the fund manager’s departure, said Shiel is starting a hedge fund with another former Fidelity fund manager, Matt Greck.

For the one-year period ended in March, the $714 million Fidelity Fifty fund lost 14.7%, versus a loss of 25.4% for its large-cap blend fund peers. For the five years ended in March, Fifty gained an average annualized 3.1%, versus a loss of 4.8% for its peers.

Jason Weiner, who had managed the $5.6 billion Fidelity OTC (FOCPX) since 2000, replaced Shiel on Fidelity Fifty, Fidelity Advisor Fifty/A (FFYAX), and Fidelity Independence (FDFFX) fund last Tuesday.

Don Dion Jr., the publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser, a newsletter, and the head of a money management firm, said Weiner is “very highly respected” by investment advisors. Dion, whose firm, Dion Money Management, oversees about $300 million, added that Weiner is “someone we’re very comfortable with.”

Dion said he does not expect to see “a big difference” in the way Fidelity Fifty is managed under Weiner, because he, like Shiel, is a growth-oriented investor.

For the three years ended in last month, Fidelity OTC lost an average annualized 29.4%, versus a loss of 23.1% for its large-cap growth fund peers. For the five years, the fund fell 3.5%, versus a loss of 5.5% for its peers.

Shep Perkins, who had been overseeing four Fidelity sector funds, succeeded Weiner on Fidelity OTC. The company has not yet named managers to replace Perkins on the sector funds, the spokesman said.


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