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Fidelity Active Funds See Outflows Despite Strong Performance

  • Passive funds prove more popular with investors as stocks gain
  • Fidelity rethinking stock picking system, WSJ reports

As Fidelity Investments considers changing how its stock picking unit operates, redemptions continued in its active mutual funds despite relatively strong performance.

Fidelity had $33.9 billion in outflows from active funds in the 12 months ending Jan. 31, according to data from Morningstar Inc. Over the same period, its funds that mimic indexes attracted almost $60 billion. Index funds charge much lower fees than active funds.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified people, reported Monday that Fidelity is considering making changes to its stock-picking system including giving analysts and senior managers more comparable footing in choosing securities. Fidelity is looking at possible changes to its compensation system, the newspaper said.

Advisory teams of senior leaders and employees at Fidelity were created last fall after the firm ousted two portfolio managers for inappropriate behavior.

The teams are discussing a range of topics, company spokesman Vincent Loporchio said Monday. “The fact that they are meeting is not any indication decisions have been made or will be made,” he said in a telephone interview.

In January alone, Fidelity had $1.5 billion in outflows in active funds, according to Morningstar. Passive funds had $9.8 billion of inflows that month.

The firm’s active equity funds turned in their strongest performance last year since 2009, Fidelity said Monday. The company’s biggest active stock fund, the $122.6 billion Contrafund run by William Danoff, beat 97 percent of peers over the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Steven Wymer, manager of the $45.5 billion Growth Company Fund, last month was named Morningstar’s domestic stock manager of the year for 2017.

In total, Fidelity attracted $250 billion in net flows last year into a broad range of products, offsetting the outflows in active equity mutual funds, Loporchio said.

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