The Wage of Innocence

As investors pour money into mutual funds, a crop of young, unseasoned managers takes a ride on the bull

It was any young, aspiring fund manager's dream. Early this month, mutual-fund giant Fidelity reached into obscurity and fingered Matthew Grech, 28, a semiconductor analyst, to run its faltering, $2 billion Select Electronics mutual fund. Bull-market madness? Perhaps. But if it is, Fidelity is not alone. With record amounts of capital flowing in ($30 billion just last month), mutual-fund firms are hunting for fresh talent in novel places--not quite kindergarten, but not very far removed from school.

The average manager's age still stands at a respectable 48, according to fund researcher Morningstar, but new technologies and new demand for investments have...

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