Portfolio manager Cecilia Mo has left Fidelity Investments Canada LLC, the latest in a parade of key departures from the fund giant this year.
"She was certainly a rising star at Fidelity," fund analyst Dan Hallett at HighView Financial Group said Wednesday. "It is a significant loss, but I think the larger issue is the overall trend of the string of people who have left the firm over the last few years…It is not a great sign for Fidelity."
Several months ago, Fidelity lost Robert Swanson, who was leader of the Fidelity Canadian asset allocation team, and Brandon Snow, who ran Canadian stock funds. Both left to join former colleague Alan Radlo, who is chief investment officer for the Cambridge funds at CI Investments Inc. Mr. Radlo, a 17-year Fidelity veteran who ran Canadian stock funds, left in 2006.
CI says it has not hired Ms. Mo, who according to sources, had been headhunted recently. The manager specializes in dividend and income securities, a hot sector in the current volatile stock environment.
She has won Lipper Awards for one- and three-year performance in her Fidelity Dividend Plus Fund, which she has run since inception. It was renamed this year from Fidelity Income Trust Fund, which broadened its mandate to other dividend-paying securities because of the shrinking trust market.
The B series of that fund gained an average of 7.7 per cent annually over the five years ended Aug. 31, against 3.4 per cent for the S&P/TSX Total Return Index. Fidelity said that manager Don Newman would take over that fund and some of her other duties.
"Cecilia has made the personal decision to leave Fidelity and we wish her well," Andrew Marchese, head of Canadian equities at Fidelity Investments Canada, said in a statement.
Mr. Hallett was not aware of the reasons behind the slew of Fidelity departures, but suggested the firm in the past has done a "pretty good job of handling the manager losses in keeping the funds in good shape and consistent in terms of their execution and performance…
"If they can do that in this case, the loss will be less of an issue," he said.