Fund Manager’s Diary

Monday: We start the week with two company meetings, one a mid-cap industrial stock and the other a real estate developer that is suffering from the credit crunch. Business model analysis and bottom-up stockpicking are the tenets of our process and we are trying to understand how the macro environment is affecting companies.

I am a reluctant gym user but grit my teeth and head off to punish the treadmill and the rowing machine at lunchtime; 40 minutes later both the treadmill and the rowing machine have come out on top.

After a company meeting we file our minutes in a database along with forecasts for their key profit and loss, cashflow and balance sheet figures. This gives us a starting point for our next meeting and allows us to check whether there are changes to the company’s strategy or outlook.

Tuesday: If company analysis occurs day-to-day, then the weekly and monthly meetings are where we really benefit from our top-down economic analysis.

The whole investment floor comes together to run through the newsflow and outlook by asset class and geography. This serves as a trigger for economic, investment themes or asset allocation work at the monthly meetings. After the markets meeting, we have our daily European desk meeting to go through company results, briefly review company meetings and communicate planned changes in portfolios.

It is a busy start to a day that later includes a charity committee meeting to discuss ideas to raise money for Threadneedle’s chosen charities.

Wednesday: The newsflow from the reporting season continues thick and fast. This is a busy time for the team in any given year, but analysing the effect of the financial crisis on the real economy demands an extra dimension to our analysis.

Another of our regular team meetings is the notes meeting on a Wednesday afternoon. A member of the team reviews a stock or sector, giving a recommendation that can be reflected in portfolios. Typically, the team also reviews the general weightings of portfolios and checks that our macro and stock-specific views are reflected in funds as required.

Thursday: With only our standard morning meeting in the diary today, I can focus on portfolio management. As part of our investment process, we maintain valuations of all the stocks we hold and this needs constant review to keep it up-to-date. Plus, if stocks have hit their target prices and look overvalued, then we need to sell these and add a stock that is exposed to the right theme and demonstrates good value.

Friday: We speak to two company managements, where both are experiencing limited visibility. This reinforces our view that we should be investing in the most defensive and predictable business models that we find.

I manage to play a game of squash at lunchtime, which is much more fun than just going to the gym.

Saturday: My wife and I have twin boys who are almost three years old. They are wonderful fun, but non-stop, so a trip out to friends for lunch is a chance for a good walk and for the boys to attack someone else’s toy box.

Sunday: A quiet day, or as quiet as it can be. We catch up with my parents-in-law who are also doting grandparents. It is only in the evening I can relax with the Sunday papers. There is another busy week in prospect, with company meetings and travel to the Netherlands to see clients and company managements.