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Fund Spy

The End of the Star Manager at Fidelity?

The firm that gave birth to the celebrity manager takes a new tack.

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No fund shop is more responsible for the idea of fund manager as star than Fidelity. In the 1960s, it played host to the first celebrity manager, Gerald Tsai, a gun-slinging investor who stood out in an era when mutual funds were frequently led by stodgy committees. And it would be tough to imagine Fidelity becoming a powerhouse in the 1980s without perhaps the most famous star manager of all, Peter Lynch, whose tremendous success at  Fidelity Magellan (FMAGX) remains that fund's biggest claim to fame.

Of course, managers won't become stars unless they alone have free rein over their portfolios. Plenty of managers still do today at Fidelity. The most notable,  Fidelity Contrafund's (FCNTX) Will Danoff and  Fidelity Low Priced Stock's (FLPSX) Joel Tillinghast, boast remarkably good records and command vast sums. Yet Danoff and Tillinghast, who both joined Fidelity in 1986, came of age in an earlier era. The firm has birthed many talented managers in the ensuing years, but few have been as distinctive in approach. And fewer still have come close to matching their success.

Christopher Davis does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.