Fund manager’s diary

Wednesday My alarm fails to go off, and I wake up at 5.15am just as a taxi pulls up outside my house to take me to Heathrow. I rush off to the airport, only to sit on the tarmac for 40 minutes. Eventually arrive in Edinburgh to market the Deutsche Equity Income investment trust to a number of private client stockbrokers at just after 9am. It appears to be a good day to be out of the office as the markets are rather sluggish. My flight back to Heathrow is severely delayed due to high winds, so I get a later flight to Gatwick. Arrive back home at 9.15pm. Thursday Following our morning meeting I decide to add to positions in GUS and Barclays. We then have an interesting discussion on UK healthcare stocks with the London-based representative of our global sector team. Leave the office at 6pm as I need to get to my eldest daughters’ Parents’ Evening. Friday Yesterday’s rise in interest rates by the Bank of England has been well flagged and, in contrast to the increase last September, appears to have had little impact on Construction & Building Materials shares. Interesting breakfast meeting with the management of ICI, then carry out some research on Rotork, a mid-cap engineering company that has consistently achieved high returns on capital. Decide to buy some shares, but liquidity may be a problem. Attend the London Treasurers’ Dinner at the Savoy. It’s a late one… Saturday Kids wake up early, as usual. Take my three girls out for the day to give my wife a break. Go to Horton’s Farm in Epsom for the children to run off some steam and to stroke all the animals. Then go to Terra Mia, a local Italian restaurant where I live in Surbiton, for a late lunch. Sunday My turn for a lie-in, and then help my two eldest girls with their homework. With the help of my two-year-old (Sellotape everywhere!) I then wrap presents for my mother’s 70th birthday party later that day. Take a large detour to pick up my aunt in Brentford before travelling on to my brother’s house for the party. Lots of kids, food and presents. Monday The dollar is weak again after a lack of clear direction from the weekend’s G7 meeting – I’m definitely going on holiday to the US this year. Notified of a large inflow into the DWS UK Equity Income Plus fund, so top up on several holdings as cash levels are already quite high. Put in order to buy GKN across my funds as the shares have fallen back to attractive levels. Trim holdings in BAA following a recent bounce in the share price. Write monthly reports for Deutsche Equity Income and Anglo & Overseas investment trusts. Tuesday Interesting portfolio review from one of my colleagues prompts me to buy more William Morrison and GUS. Have a pre-meeting with colleagues to discuss the agenda for tomorrow morning’s meeting with the management of Shell. Pick up my eldest daughter from Brownies, then sit down to plan the family summer holiday to California. Wednesday Get into the office early to analyse full-year results from Reckitt Benckiser – excellent set of figures as usual; pity not all UK companies are as well managed. Then have a meeting with Sir Phil Watts from Shell: some reassurance that the company may now be over the worst, but immediate outlook appears quite dull. Interesting development in the afternoon as Disney receives a hostile bid from Comcast, boosting the share price of my holdings in Hit Entertainment (who own children’s favourites such as Bob the Builder, Barney and Pingu); now that’s a company meeting where it’s hard to keep a straight face. Graham Ashby is manager of the DWS UK Equity Income and UK Equity Income Plus funds. His diary runs from February 4-11.