Fund managers diary

Laurent Ducoin is head of the European management team at Carmignac Gestion and co-manager of the Carmignac Grande Europe and Carmignac Euro­Entrepreneurs funds. His diary runs from March 5-9.

Monday: We start the day by meeting a Belgian company, which has been a long-term value creator. This is interesting, particularly since the shares look cheap.

Next is a meeting with our product specialist to prepare a presentation for 20-plus clients in London in two weeks’ time. We decide to go straight to the point by trying to answer the question of the moment: Is it time to get back into Europe?

The last appointment before lunch is our weekly performance meeting, which is an opportunity for the portfolio managers to present their latest performance to the sales force. After eating a quick Japanese meal at my desk, I meet an analyst working on a Swiss initial public offering and finish the day by having a conference call with the IR team of a German industrial company.

Tuesday: An important meeting with one of our largest clients to present the performance and the changes we have implemented in their portfolio since I joined the company last October. But I am also watching the banking sector, which is becoming weaker by the hour.

At noon, there is a meeting with a small cap we like and we own. It is a convincing meeting and we decide to buy more on a rainy day. Thinking again about how badly the banks are doing – they are starting to drag down the rest of the market – I wonder whether that rainy day might be today.

After lunch we head over to our client’s offices for the update meeting. Good news: they like our investment process and our asset management house style.

Back at the office the banks have finished down 5.5% and the market is down 3% on concerns over China’s growth rate and on the Greek PSI bond swap result. What a day. After I leave work I go for a swim to relax and burn off a bit of energy. (Diary continues below)

Wednesday: Company meeting with a software firm. They have an interesting business model based on offering software with a difference – flexibility. The software can be customised without hard programming. This is a brilliant idea to target companies in the services sector, which face regular changes in their organisations.

Thursday: I sit down with the other heads of portfolio management to discuss our investment processes. It is an exciting feeling to contribute to these discussions: we have the sense that we are building something for the future.

Fire on Place Vendome. Our offices – located on one of the most famous squares in the world – give us a bird’s eye of the fire in the car park below the square. Black columns of smoke billow out of the entrances at the four corners of the square. Scary, but at the same time, kind of beautiful. Luckily there are no serious injuries.

Friday: In the morning we see the chief executive of a small healthcare firm, and in the afternoon there is a meeting with the chief executive of an innovative telecoms company. These two meetings are good examples of the companies we are looking for to invest in – driven by innovation, which allows them to gain market share and to post strong organic growth.

We finish the week meeting a client. It goes well; he is convinced by our investment process and the robustness of our portfolio construction.