Bolton’s blues over slump in Chinese fund

HE IS the star fund manager whose stock picks have been the envy of the City for the best part of 30 years. Now, however, a year after Anthony Bolton left Britain for Hong Kong, he has found life is far from easy in the East.

Yesterday Bolton (pictured) apologised to investors for the “very poor” performance figures of his Fidelity’s flagship China fund.

“I can give no excuses except to say performance has been very disappointing particularly in the three months to the half-year end,” he said.

The net asset value of the Fidelity China Special Situations fund fell 28.9 per cent in the six months to 30 September, underperforming a 24.5 per cent fall in the MSCI China Index.

Bolton’s fund, which had net assets of £490m on 30 September, bought back some of its shares to boost investor confidence in September.

The Brit said his optimism for Chinese prospects has been “severely tested” but added that his trust has seen a partial recovery, which he hopes will continue in 2012. He also said he had been wrong to believe China’s stock market could decouple from Western equities, particularly given China’s exposure to the “misguided experiment” of the euro.

“The combination of the very difficult stock market background, the company’s exposure to the more volatile medium and smaller capitalisation Chinese stocks and the company’s gearing has produced some very poor performance figures.”