Jeremy Whitley is the head of UK and European equities and manager of Dunedin Income Growth Investment Trust. His diary runs from September 22-28.
Usual early start and, for once, a straightforward central line commute into work. This morning we’re seeing BG Group, one of our core British stocks. It may be based in Reading but operations, and more importantly, opportunities are as far afield as Brazil and Australia. This is our eighth meeting with BG within three years, which is fairly normal, so a wide ranging catch-up is good enough. I attend a big dinner in the evening given by senior management at Aberdeen for a range of journalists.
I chair the weekly meeting this morning. This consists of sorting out who will be where over the next few weeks, who will conduct company visits and write the notes, any concerns about voting, boards and so on. And then a full pack of corporate meeting reports and results, which are analysed and debated by the team. Chairing is not always the easiest task with quite a large team of bright individuals with varying levels of experience who may at times have different views. Back up to Edinburgh this evening. My wife is away on a walking trip with some friends so I wow two of my children with some seriously burnt sausages, undercooked pasta and even manage to break the knob on the oven. Not exactly Raymond Blanc. (article continues below)
The three of us travel over to Glasgow to present to two shareholders of Dunedin Income Growth. This large investment trust dates back to 1873, so is a constant reminder to me to focus on the long term. The meetings are fine – my audience know the trust well. I update them on various portfolio changes, some market views and our tactics to enhance the revenue account, which was looking under pressure given the BP dividend cut in the summer. We have mitigated that with a focus on diversification of exposure and income stream, helped by some strong performance of several lower yielding stocks and corporate bonds giving us the opportunity to recycle that capital for a yield pick up. Friday afternoon is spent reading stock notes written by colleagues.
We are lucky to be able to visit a cottage up in the Perthshire hills. We are there once a month or so. It is normally a case of attacking the grass, the weeds and the nettles, something I find therapeutic, and then going for a long walk admiring the views. This weekend we have a couple of other families with us so have great fun fishing, lighting camp fires and playing games, though the Northerly wind refuses to lighten up.
We start the week with our models meeting, where we run through all the portfolios making any changes if required which then feed through to generate any trades. This week we introduce BG and Unilever into our pan-euro model, and reduce the positions in Adidas, Aviva and ABF all of which had performed pretty well. Some weeks we do little, at other times we are a bit more active. Lunchtime is spent at the gym and part of the afternoon is spent presenting to another client.
I have a meeting with the head of business risk regarding the Anti-Bribery Act, which is soon to come into force. We have a strong compliance culture throughout Aberdeen so it is crucial that we are on top of any regulatory changes. I then move on to present a pitch to a prospective French client, together with my colleagues in Paris. I finish the day with a game of five-a-side football with some similarly ageing friends followed by a well earned rest in the pub.