Fund Managers Diary

Phil Clark is the European head of property investment at Aegon Asset Management. His diary runs from September 14-20.

Monday We’ve just moved to Cambridge with our two children and the boxes aren’t yet unpacked. But the kids have survived their first two weeks at school and I’ve found commuting a positive bonus. I now cycle to the station, sit on a train and have an uninterrupted hour at the start and end of the day. I’m pleased with the extra time to work. My PA, Genevieve, is not.

I meet an investment banker at 9am to review the market. We focus on the key issues – a lack of liquidity, falling values and nervous capital. At 12.45pm I look at a number of potential initiatives. The rationale is to capture improving market performance around the globe. Later, I meet a broker to discuss opportunities for using property derivatives in the UK market. It’s a relatively new part of the property scene and I’m conscious we need to be up to speed on how best to use it.

I’m home at 7pm, in time to read bedtime stories as well as catch up with my wife.

Tuesday A morning meeting to discuss current appetite among consultant actuaries for property. We conclude it is turning positive quickly. Later, a team presents software that integrates accounting and fund reporting allowing fund managers, accountants and managing agents to all see the same data on one system. It’s impressive, so I request a trial.

Later, I have team meetings, followed by a presentation to a bank. It seems to go well. One of them sits on an industry debt group I co-chair for the Property Industry Alliance.

I’m home at 8pm. My daughter is asleep but my son is awake and pleased to have a chapter of ‘The Faraway Tree’.

Wednesday A day without meetings. I review our five-year business plan – the process is easier now the capital markets are stabilising. I have lunch with a student from the first industry diploma course I taught. I’m glad to hear it was of use.

Thursday A property control meeting to discuss the risk and regulatory side of the business. No issues arise, largely owing to the comprehensive framework within which we all now operate. At 10am, there is an IPF [Investment Property Forum] management board meeting. This is a UK property industry group focused on improving market efficiency through research and education. I chair the Education Strategy Group.

I then have a one-to-one catch-up with the chief exec.
Following my management school training I ensure my upwards communication channel is fully-utilised.

I’m home in time to allow my wife to play her semi-final match at her old tennis club and read stories to my children.

Friday A breakfast seminar at 8am on whether we’re heading for a ‘double dip’ economic scenario. It’s very informative.

For the rest of the day I review financial models and go over what I’m discussing as a panellist at a conference next week.

My son calls to ask whether I’ll be late home – code for ‘don’t be late home’. Fortunately, I arrive in time for stories.

Saturday Time to rebuild the children’s tree-house we’ve transported with us. It was a Christmas present, which my wife suggested I could build on Christmas Eve. Two weeks before Christmas, 100 pieces of wood arrived and suddenly winning Strictly Come Dancing seemed an easier prospect.

Sunday Our 12th wedding anniversary. We exchange cards and the children give my wife a present from all of us.

Cambridge airport is two miles away and today it has an air display. Our children shout that the Red Arrows are coming and we witness a spectacular display – my wife doesn’t buy my suggestion I arranged this for our anniversary.