Fund Manager’s Diary

Tuesday The start of the month is always a time for client reporting, and my first appointment is a monthly conference call with some Italian clients for whom we run a global emerging markets (GEM) fund – I look forward to this call as our client shares my deep interest in the asset class and, as usual, we overrun on time. Then it’s straight into calling a key client on our flagship Eastern European product, where my colleague Mark and I enthuse on the opportunities we see in the Russian fixed-line telecom sector. That afternoon we have an analyst meeting on Brazilian e-commerce and learn about ‘the Amazon of Brazil’. That’s the best part of looking at GEMs: 733 stocks in 26 countries certainly make for a varied day. Manage to get home just in time for the Arsenal game.

Wednesday Start the day with some friendly office banter on Arsenal’s failure the night before, and then into an ad hoc review meeting to look at Samsung Electronics – the GEM heavyweight with a market cap of $75bn (£39bn). Our Global Equity funds have made good money in the stock since the summer and we thrash out a forward view in a no-punches-pulled meeting. Then I begin sifting through our pile of ideas for unloved, undervalued companies. Again, from South African telecoms to Taiwanese petrochemicals, the variety of the opportunity is astounding. I try not to screen-watch as the US bond market sells off in the afternoon, believing instead that our value-driven process should be defensive in this environment. Leave early at seven with a colleague from the SG Group who is having dinner with us at my flat.

Thursday After a quick check on the price moves of the day before, I resume analysis of our ideas list. We focus primarily on country allocation, but we then need sound and attractively valued ideas to invest in. I break at lunch for a run and then press on with detailed analysis of cashflows. I keep meaning to go home, but it’s nearly 11pm when I do leave, and I reward myself with a cab home.

Friday We meet to review the week’s moves in the markets and then meet with a South African equity strategist. I always like to press strategists and analysts to challenge our current view, in order to avoid groupthink. Later I conduct a final team review of our Taiwanese petrochemical idea before placing orders to buy it for the GEM funds. Friday evening, I leave on time in order to spend the evening with the family.

Saturday I don’t ever work on a Saturday, and make use of the fine weather to tidy up the garden after the winter months.

Sunday I spend the morning in the garden and then visit my grandmother in the afternoon. That evening I read professional journals, tearing out one article for my colleagues: 10 Trends in Quantitative Analysis That May Transform the Investment Landscape.

Monday Begin the day with a review of my team with our chief investment officer, which is always an opportunity to receive some honest feedback. Then we review the Latin American commodity stocks that have performed so well in recent months and been a great contributor to our performance. Again, we look for criticism of our existing strategy in order to avoid complacency. Mark and I then review the Russian media sector over a quick lunch at a nearby café. The afternoon is spent looking at recent economic statistics from Brazil. I finish the day at 7.30pm with a call to a GEM strategist in the US.