Fund Manager’s Diary

Monday My day starts at around 7am, which gives me time to review the positioning of our portfolios before the daily meeting with the traders at 8.30am. Then it’s meetings and discussions with traders.

Today’s 10am meeting is interesting: one credit analyst takes us through developments in the asset-backed securities market – essentially diversified smaller bonds pooled together. This market has increased massively in recent years, and our credit researchers have unearthed some really good ideas. Over lunch, I mull over what I believe to be the better opportunities. In the afternoon I catch up on the day’s macroeconomic analysis. This information is essential in building conviction in our portfolio strategy decisions.

Tuesday After the usual portfolio review and analyst discussions, this afternoon focuses on marketing, product development and sales. Following the recent Northern Rock situation, interest in cash funds has increased, particularly among retail clients. Money market funds have long been seen as an alternative to deposit accounts, so I talk with colleagues about how best to get across the message that they behave in the same way but give much wider diversification.

Wednesday I spend much of the morning poring over ideas from our credit analysts – some top-rated global financial institutions have already been unfairly tarred with the credit crunch brush this week, and the team has been hard at work identifying those that still offer sound investment opportunities. I have lunch with a journalist who wants to learn more about our cash funds – what we invest in and how. I head off to the gym before making my way home.

Thursday The markets have quietened down this week – at least in terms of volatility and central bank intervention – after what many of us agreed has been the biggest upheaval in bond markets for many years.

Liquidity in money markets remains strong, top-rated firms are still issuing the sort of short-dated paper we want to buy and corporate fundamentals are also good. Over lunch I discuss these wider issues with the analysts closest to the money market funds, and they concur – there are plenty of opportunities. I then prepare for our quarterly fixed income asset allocation meeting. Although Fidelity’s London-based bond team all sits together, it’s a great forum to hear and share the considered thoughts of my counterparts on the global and other bond teams around the world.

Friday This morning we have our weekly rates team meeting to review developments in interest rate markets and where we think they’re going. Central banks have taken steps to provide extra liquidity to the market, and this has been helpful in bringing about stability. This change of tack underlines how unusual the credit crunch was and how many people are still fearful of its aftershocks. I then go to a meeting with our quantitative analysts – they’ve done some number-crunching on interest rates that underlines my conviction.

Weekend Saturday morning is a quiet, and after lunch I settle down to the quarter-final matches for the rugby world cup. Being Australian, I have high hopes of my team getting to the semi-finals. But it is not to be. After 80 minutes on the edge of my seat, I can’t believe it. The first shock result of the weekend and Australia is out. I get over my disappointment to dedicate the rest of the weekend to family time with my wife and two-year-old son – and to prepare myself for the smug smiles and comments of my English colleagues on Monday.

  • Marc Wait is the head of short-term bond portfolio management at Fidelity International. His diary runs from October 1-7.