Fund Manager’s Diary

Saturday It is a Christmas tradition that my wife and I dine out with my cousin and his wife at this time. This year I suggest that, rather than eating in one of London’s restaurants one evening, we should make a day of it and have a leisurely lunch at the Pot Kiln in Berkshire, a favourite gastro pub of mine. It is run by celebrity chef Mike Robinson and much of the meat served is either shot by him or reared locally. In particular, muntjac, seasonal game and what the waiter describes as happy pigs.

Sunday I pick up Paul Rooke another Premier employee who lives locally for some golf and fresh air. I used to be a fair weather golfer, but wrapped up we both have a great afternoon, not least because we get round in less than three hours. I resolve to keep playing throughout the winter.

Monday Cedarholt, the hedge fund that Premier manages on behalf of Hamilton Lunn, has both sterling and dollar-based investors. Because the fund is attracting Middle Eastern money, the dollar pool is bigger than the sterling pool. I have to adjust the currency exposure today by buying and selling currency futures so that the performance of the two share classes are as near as possible the same.

Tuesday Having spent the greater part of my career as a sell side analyst, seated on various large dealing floors, I sometimes miss the vibe you get in fast moving markets such as these by simply being in the middle of it. Fortunately, I have many friends left in broking and I make a point of ringing round those whom I consider to have a feel for both the sector and the market.

Those that I have not routinely spoken to this morning that is. The consensus is cautious and I am left wondering whether the holiday season might not throw up some good opportunities to commit cash.

Wednesday I drive down to the head office in Guildford this morning but there is a broker’s lunch at Arbuthnot in the City for one of its house stocks. Fortunately, there is a fast train to Waterloo. Stuart Parks, manager of Invesco Asia, is presenting and there is a good turnout. While positive about the area, Stuart is cautious in the near term and the lack of tactical gearing in place is consistent with this stance. Tim Mitchell, head of Invesco’s investment trust division and a former investment trust broker himself, sits next to me. I later take the opportunity to get his thoughts on the rest of the Invesco stable. The meeting was worth the trip.

Thursday A full day in London, with meetings either side of a regular forum arranged by G&N at the City Club. These occur every couple of months and allow investors to meet four companies in a couple of hours, which I regard as an efficient use of my time. A successful investment in Stephen Peak’s TR European Growth trust resulted from one of these meetings.

Friday Grab a coffee from Starbucks on the way in and as usual settle to read the FT and broker’s research, most of which is received by email. I largely rely on my own proprietary research though. As the market has seemed to be working a three-day week for much of this year, Mondays and Fridays are relatively quiet, and today I update some of my Excel models. Later I review private client accounts, including some Growth and High Income Peps and Isas. Before I leave for the weekend I have to sign off for their custodians the weekly valuations of Premier Enterprise and Premier Global, both Oeics, and an ETF [exchange traded fund] I manage for IFA Alliance called Liberation Balanced Fund.

l Philip Davies is a senior fund manager at Premier Asset Management. His diary runs from December 8-14.