Fund Managers Diary

Julian Fosh co-manages the Liontrust First Growth, First Opportunities and Intellectual Capital Trust funds. His diary runs from August 31 to September 6.

Monday A grey day. Get up early and stick the iPod on “shuffle” while cleaning and feeding the cats. Sandwiched between Jimi Hendrix and Beat It, I hear an interesting piece about how owners of web content are changing their business models from a consultancy basis to a subscription-based recurring revenue model. As recurring revenues are one of the three “must have” attributes under our Economic Advantage investment process, I make plans to investigate this avenue further.

Tuesday Rain. Catch the train to Glasgow for a meeting with a pharmaceutical company. On my way, I check my last notes on the company and how it scores under our process and then phone a couple of analysts. This is a company that, like us, believes in the importance of targeting a high return on capital and much of the meeting focuses on the extent to which the company has accomplished this and the challenges in maintaining it. I type up the notes on the journey back, but down tools for the beautiful five-minute stretch between Bowling Harbour and the Clyde estuary.

Wednesday Sunshine. Drive 45 minutes across glorious countryside to Stirling for my weekly meeting with my co-manager, Anthony Cross. We meet at the River House restaurant, which is a popular venue as it is spacious, has reliable wi-fi and great coffee. We review portfolios, stock news, possible buys and sells, and the economic outlook. I then drive back to my home office for a post-results telephone conference call with an oil services company.

Thursday Fly to London for a couple of client presentations and a company meeting. I have lunch in Covent Garden on an outdoor terrace with one of our dealers and a fellow Liontrust fund manager. After lunch, I go to the office on the Strand for a catch-up on new fund launches, press activity and sales and marketing. Back in Scotland, I’m struck – as always – by how pleasantly empty the roads seem after the bustle of London.

Friday A quiet day in the market, which gives me an opportunity to update our newsflow diary following the deluge of recent results. This involves recording the salient points of companies’ statements and comparing them with previous results and looking at the latest indicators and valuation metrics, then recording our view. Working from home while carrying out analysis such as this is an advantage as it’s free from interruptions. After 17 updated reports, it is 7pm and time for a glass of wine with my wife, Jackie.

Saturday Glorious sun. Head off early to rehearse with the Dunbartonshire Concert Band, for which I play bass guitar. I stop en route to the church hall for coffee and to skim-read the papers. As we finish, a jumble sale is getting underway and I emerge with an eclectic selection of books including Wild Britain, Great Railway Journeys and Scotland, Counties and Towns, and a monstrous, yet strangely fabulous, copper-coloured umbrella stand.

Sunday Drive up the side of Loch Lomond en route to Loch Earnhead in Perth, as the traditional jazz band I occasionally play with has a lunchtime gig. We stop off at local beauty spot Inveruglas for coffee. We are also hoping for a piece of their famous farmhouse cake, but the tourists have eaten it all. John, our front man, is on great form – the audience love his patter (this usually happens) and love our music (this doesn’t always happen). Then back home for dinner with Jackie. We watch spellbound as Griff Rhys Jones does his travelogue/explorer thing negotiating Britain’s rivers. One day…