The diary: Guinness’s Ian Mortimer

Ian Mortimer is co-manager of Guinness Global Equity Income fund. His diary runs from 22-26 July.


Monday I did my first full-distance triathlon at the weekend so I am a little slow-moving this morning. It was at Stowe, the private school in Buckinghamshire, which was stunning, but that does not diminish the pain today. Luckily it is a reasonably quiet day with a bunch of half-yearly reports and portfolio reviews to write – a task made easier by a good run of performance in our funds so far this year. I go to support a friend at an event for his wine-tasting company in the evening – a blind tasting so I am way out of my depth.

Tuesday Today we have our weekly Global Equity Income portfolio review meeting with co-manager Matthew Page. We run our weekly screens (value, sentiment, momentum) on our universe of companies with persistent high returns on capital. We run an equally weighted portfolio of 35 stocks, keeping turnover low, so changes are rare but we can trim or top up positions to keep the portfolio’s shape or capitalise on short-term movements. No changes this week but we did top up our position in Aberdeen a few weeks ago after the recent share price weakness. Weekly six-a-side football in Battersea in the evening.

Wednesday An early start for a day of six marketing meetings in Geneva, all with a good mix of current and prospective investors. Equity income funds have not been such a staple of investment portfolios as they are in the UK but their popularity seems to be growing. At this early stage of marketing our fund – we are up to $40m – meetings are mostly about explaining our process, which seems to be well received both in the UK and on the conti-nent. Again, it is made easier by good performance this year and over the two-and-a-half years since we launched. I am glad to have a break for a quick lunch in the sunshine overlooking the lake. Hassle-free journeys both ways but still a long day.

Thursday Back to some fund management today. We do not have teams of analysts at Guinness; we (the managers) tend to do all our company modelling ourselves, having used some pretty rigorous screens to identify those targets. Good results this week from Northrop Grumman, the US security group we bought back in March when the defence sector was quite unloved. It beat expectations on margins and earnings and, having run the slide rule over the numbers and transcript of its quarterly update, still ticks all our boxes.

Friday In the office again. We have our monthly company board meeting in the morning which covers all aspects of the firm and also some discussion of ideas for potential new products. I cannot give anything away here but watch this space. Then a conference call in the afternoon with Jim Atkinson, chief executive of our US sister company, and his new sales director, picking up on some of those product ideas and discussing the sales process for our Dividend fund listed in the US (a mirror portfolio to our Dublin-based Global Equity Income fund). That is the nature of boutique fund management – you are involved in all aspects of your fund and its promotion. I think that is really helpful for a fund manager – it helps me understand what clients need and what the sales and marketing teams are working on.

Saturday and Sunday Resting and catching up with the latest Ashes news.