Fund Manager’s Diary

Monday: It is the May Day bank holiday – bliss! At least until half past five (am) when our two-and-a-half-week-old, Claire, decides it is time to be fed and to have her nappy changed – just the first of a dozen or so changes for today.

As the day draws to a close, I think about the week ahead and wonder what will happen to the carbon price. Many of the companies in which we invest, such as electricity utilities, are directly affected by carbon and electricity prices. One of the joys of the electronic age is that the sell-side can provide instant conclusions about such moves, so I prepare myself for spending much of the week sifting through this information and talking with our analysts and fund managers about the specific implications for their companies and sectors.

Tuesday: A busy day for the team because my colleague, Steve Waygood, is in Paris helping to launch the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Investment managers signing up to the principles commit to integrating environmental, social and governance issues into their investment analysis, and to actively encouraging the companies in which they invest to have high standards of corporate governance and responsibility.

This is important because much of the process of investment takes a shorter-term view, whereas these long-term factors will have a growing and irreversible impact. Insight sponsored the development of the principles and also participated in the working group that developed them.

Wednesday: I have been invited to join the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) working group developing a guidance document for the energy utilities sector that will identify a series of economic, environmental and social performance indicators that can be used by companies to communicate their performance on sustainable development issues. I speak with the GRI secretariat to discuss the scope and schedule for the project.

Thursday: I will be speaking at a climate change conference in a couple of weeks’ time so I prepare some slides. With the rapidly changing carbon price, I hope they are not too out of date. My paper will focus on the quality of the information provided by companies on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Our experience has been that the data provided tends to be incomplete and presented in a form that makes it difficult for investors to assess the financial implications for companies. I mull over many outstanding questions: Should companies invest in coal, gas, renewables or even nuclear? When do they decide to do so? What are the implications for climate change policy? And how does this fit with issues like energy security and the current US/Iran standoff?

I arrive home to find Claire in a grizzly mood, so I take her with me when I go to vote in the local elections. She falls asleep so I suspect her first experience of the democratic process will not be remembered in years to come. As soon as I get home, she starts to cry again, so I hand her over to my wife for feeding.

Friday: More news on climate change and the carbon price. I also have some press calls to deal with: one relating to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, and another relating to the types of information that shareholders should expect from companies in their business reviews.

The weekend: My sister, Olive, and her husband, Ed, visit us from Ireland and are quickly engaged in various child-minding activities. We watch Super Size Me and decide against going out for dinner on Sunday night.

• Rory Sullivan is director, investor responsibility, at Insight Investment. His diary runs from May 1-7.