From a shallow talent pool of managers, Advisor lineup offers a few stellar choices, but most funds don't stand out.
Fidelity Investments may have never become a behemoth without the rise of no-load investing during the great bull market of the 1980s and 1990s. Hot-performing funds like Fidelity Magellan
Advisors confront the same maddening attributes of Fidelity's investment culture as retail investors. Aside from the aging Fidelity patriarch, Edward Johnson III, who has been the firm's chairman since the 1970s, the firm lacks the organizational stability of big competitors like American Funds. Turnover has been high in both the executive and portfolio-management ranks. In contrast to American, whose funds share a common investing ethos and are run by seasoned investment professionals, there's no one way to run money at Fidelity, and the quality or experience of its portfolio managers can vary widely.
The source of those negatives, though, also fosters Fidelity's biggest strengths. Because it doesn't impose rigid, one-size-fits-all constraints, Fidelity managers have wide latitude to implement their own investment strategies. Many talented investors, such as Peter Lynch, Will Danoff, and Joel Tillinghast, have emerged from this culture, which affords them the freedom to think and invest differently. Our favorite Fidelity Advisor funds are led by managers who have put this freedom to good use.
Fidelity's talent isn't distributed broadly enough for investors to rely on its Advisor lineup alone, however. While much of the lineup might appeal to investors with limited choices, only a handful is compelling enough to choose over better, non-Fidelity alternatives. Others, especially many of its core offerings in the large-blend arena, are just too bland to choose at all. In fact, our least-favorite Fidelity Advisor funds are not offerings where the managers use their freedom unwisely, but ones where we're not convinced that they have enough freedom to stand out.
Here are our favorite Fidelity Advisor funds and ones that advisors should best avoid.
Best of the Bunch
Fidelity Advisor New Insights
Fidelity Advisor Equity Growth