Fund Manager’s Diary

Wednesday I am in the US catching up with our New York-based investment team. Although I keep in regular contact with them via conference calls, I am committed to visiting the US at least every quarter. Breakfast with a US equity strategist turned consultant gets the day off to a start, followed by a company meeting with Canadian National Railways at our offices. We already hold shares in the firm and following a relatively positive update in which the firm’s management highlights the potential of planned rail links to Mexico, I decide to increase our weighting further.

Another dose with a US equity strategist is next on the agenda before an exchange of ideas with our US large-cap team over lunch. Spend the afternoon catching up with internal analysts covering both financials and oils. After a hectic day, I look forward to boarding my evening flight to Boston.

Thursday In Boston the day kicks off with a breakfast meeting with our healthcare team. There’s much to discuss as we cover large-cap pharmaceuticals, medical devices and the hospital sector. We have been lightly represented among some of the bigger pharmaceutical names for some time now and intend to retain this stance in the near term at least.

Within the sector, we continue to favour medical device firms such as Zimmer and St Jude Medical, which, in our view, should benefit from an increasing demand for orthopaedic and cardiac devices as the general population continues to age. Utilities are next on the agenda as I catch-up with our analyst. Overall, however, exciting opportunities in this area look few and far between.

Before returning to my hotel, I spend a couple of hours with our retail specialist discussing the outlook for the sector. Given that consumer spending is likely to slow, we continue to believe that specialist situations are likely to provide the best opportunities in this area.

Friday Fly from Boston to New York and then back to London. Return too late to brave the office, so spend a relaxing evening at home after a long day’s travel.

Monday Back in the office, I spend the early part of the morning reviewing my ideas and thoughts from last week’s US trip before catching up with the other members of our global portfolio team. The highlight of the day, however, is the annual DWS tennis tournament. Although my partner and I fail to make any of the finals, I’m relatively pleased with my on-court performances – especially given the fact that I must have been the oldest entrant in this year’s event.

Tuesday Attempting to ignore the after-effects of yesterday’s tennis, I begin the day with our head of discretionary sales on a lengthy conference call with some Hong Kong-based potential investors. Much of the call involves outlining our investment process, the sort of companies we are looking to invest in and how our portfolio is currently positioned.

This theme continues further into the morning as I catch-up with two analysts from one of the fund ratings agencies. Given that they already rate our fund and know our process well, most of our time together is spent focusing on how we see the US economy developing from here and how we are currently positioned to take advantage. After explaining how we are lightly represented among some of the US’s more mature businesses, however, I am pleased to point out a copy of the Evening Standard (on our reception desk) with a depressing headline about McDonald’s profits – a share we don’t currently own.