Monday:I wait with my daughter for her school bus at 7:30am. Luckily it is still light at this time of year and not raining, but winter is coming. This means I get to the office at about 8:30am and it already looks like a down day in the markets. I have only one meeting this morning – the average is between two and three a day. Today’s meeting is with a new company that is hoping to reverse into another public company.
I was in America until last Friday so a clear diary allows me to catch up on sign-offs, research and cast a reviewing eye over the portfolio. By the time I leave the office between 5pm and 6pm, the biotech market in America (where more than 70% of our portfolio is quoted) is down 2.5%. Then, by the time I arrive home, have a chat and something to eat, biotech in America (along with everything else) is down another 2.5%, as the House of Representatives votes not to pass the financial bail-out Bill into law.
Tuesday: I am scheduled to be out for a day marketing in Norwich and Suffolk. But, seeing as the 8am train leaves from Liverpool Street, I go into the office first to put some buy orders on in some of our largest capitalisation holdings. We continue to have cash inflows and I believe our investors want us to invest when valuations are cheap. It is also important, when the markets are rocky, to get out and see investors because they have questions and need to make informed investment decisions. Four meetings later, I am home at about 8:30pm to catch the last part of a slight recovery in the American market.
Wednesday: Today was supposed to be Lehmans’ London life sciences conference. It did not happen, but many of the companies had booked their flights and are in town for meetings at investors’ offices. I try to see most companies that make the effort to come to London to meet investors, and manage two company meetings and a conference call.
Thursday: The markets, already in a “will they, won’t they pass the Bill” state of concern as a decision on the bail-out bill approaches again, sink to the same degree as they did on Monday. This time it is concerns on the American economy. Four meetings today, including a chat with a former biotech fund manager who consults. Lots of interesting gossip and discussions on specific companies but nothing that translates into an investment decision today.
Friday: A meeting of all the fund managers is scheduled at 8:15am. By the time everyone has had their say, it is nearly time for the first company meeting of the day. Lunch is a sandwich at my desk while I wait for today’s biotech news from America to appear on Bloomberg and then a second company meeting at 2pm. When I get back to my desk at 3pm, the market is up in anticipation of the American financial bail-out. I leave about 5pm but I am still looking at emails on my Blackberry and my Bloomberg monitors on the way home – thankfully the newsflow stops for a few days at Christmas.
Saturday: Take my car in for its MoT and then pick up my son from football practice. He is so exhausted that he takes to his bed for a couple of hours, which allows me time to read the FT – the only time in the week I get to read a newspaper rather than electronic content.
Sunday: I stop cycling by this time of year, but luckily my daughter has skating this morning and the sports centre does a swim and sauna package. An hour in the pool and 20 minutes melting a book in the sauna and I am almost looking forward to food shopping.
l Andy Smith manages the Axa Framlington Biotech fund. His diary runs from September 29 to October 5