Fund managers diary

Jing Ning manages the BlackRock BGF China fund. Her diary runs from October 4-10.


I walk the five minutes from home to the office – Hong Kong is an incredibly compact city and BlackRock’s move to the Cheung Kong Center has actually halved my commute. We begin with the daily morning meeting, where the Asian equity team discusses today’s portfolio action and any important news. I flag some rumours circulating in the international press around new Chinese property policies – but also explain that this is not new information and the local market has been aware of this for some time.


I meet with an education company which offers English test preparation classes to young Chinese students who want to go overseas to study. The company was founded by a couple, which is not uncommon for private businesses in China (the new mom and pop shop). In the afternoon we have our weekly research meeting, where we decide which ideas we should pursue and conduct in-depth research on. (article continues below)


The team’s China analysts are busy as a wave of new listings come to the market. The last two years have seen a huge amount of private equity invested in China and some of these companies are being brought to the secondary market. Many are in “New China” sectors – new companies which tap the secular tides of consumption and urbanisation and industries such as automation and technology services – and are particularly exciting, as long as they are at the right price. The brokers are introducing the company principals to meet with key institutional investors.


Two more IPOs [initial public offerings] today – a skincare company and a department store operator in the affluent Yangtze river delta region. The region includes the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Ningbo and is home to more than 90m people. It has grown rapidly over the past few years and looks set to continue with government announcing plans to continue to develop and modernise the area over the next decade. In the evening we have our weekly video-conference with the London-based global emerging markets equity team. It is very useful to be able to get their perspective on China and talk about investment ideas.


In today’s morning meeting we talk about trimming some of our consumer staple names. Our stocks here have performed really well and we think it is time to take some of them down. We want to invest in good stocks, not just good companies, so valuation really matters.


A nice relaxing morning at home, catching up on some news. I talk to my parents in Beijing – I have been advising them on the sale of their house. The time is right to take advantage of those high property prices. I cannot help reflecting that my parents’ generation has experienced some turbulence during the course of their lives, and the rising asset prices and a stable pension income will enable them to enjoy a pleasant retirement.


It is hot and humid at the moment, so when I go out it is to the cool comfort of a shopping mall in Causeway Bay – one of the busiest shopping precincts in the world. Sunday shopping is a Hong Kong obsession. However as I walk around Times Square, it is incredible how many people around me are speaking Mandarin – there are thousands of people from the mainland shopping for bargains. It is quite different from four years ago when I arrived in Hong Kong, when I considered learning to speak Cantonese to make my life easier. Now thanks to these mainland shoppers, I really feel at home in Hong Kong.