Fund Manager’s Diary

Monday The alarm rings as usual at 5.30am. Wonder what the week will bring as I scamper down to Surbiton station, thankful for the major rally in equity markets on Friday.

Monday: The alarm rings as usual at 5.30am. Wonder what the week will bring as I scamper down to Surbiton station, thankful for the major rally in equity markets on Friday.

Interesting meeting with an asset management house, who say allowing Lehman to default on its senior unsecured debt was a major policy error by the American monetary authorities. Meeting helps confirm that corporate debt could be an interesting hunting ground for income funds.

I discover there were four banking crises in the early 1930s. Combined with a colleague’s bearish lunch-time meeting with an analyst and reports of capital raising from two other banks, it’s clear that financial markets are not out of the woods yet.

It is club night at my local running club but it ends in frustration, as my troublesome right calf cramps up after just two miles.

Tuesday: Carry out a review of Midland Holdings – which has been a disappointing performer – and look at UK mining companies. Sentiment remains negative, but the upside potential is beginning to look interesting. Get delayed on the way home – oh, the joy of commuting.

Wednesday: Host our weekly equity income teleconference with European colleagues. Discussions centre on our continued caution on the banking sector. Complete an investment article for a magazine keen to follow up on my investment conference presentation last Thursday. Huge global steel and mining conference held in our offices at Canary Wharf – interesting opportunity to see a wide spectrum of companies from around the world.

Thursday: Get off to a bad start as I just miss my train to Waterloo and gets worse when we have a gloomy update on credit markets in our global morning meeting. Back-to-back UK equity analyst meetings on banks, food retailers and manufacturers. Both bearish on the immediate outlook.

Grab some lunch with an old friend who is in London – good to catch up and pleased to hear she and her family can come skiing with us in February.

Friday: Interesting global morning meeting, particularly in the wake of JP Morgan’s purchase of Washington Mutual’s assets overnight.

Meeting with a chief credit strategist from a large American bank also very gloomy, but interesting to observe that those present from the equity side of the business were generally more positive than those from credit. Help a colleague finish off our month-end article entitled “Hare and the Tortoise”. Liz Eaton, the Eastern Europe and Russia fund manager, suggests a quick drink after work as she has just returned from Russia. Feels like we need it after the ups and downs of the markets over the past few weeks.

Saturday: Unable to go for my usual 5km time trial as I need to help get the house ready for my seven-year-old’s birthday. Whole class arrives and it is a noisy and rather pink whirlwind for the next two hours. Quiet evening at home, but amused to see on Match of the Day that the captain of Hull City has the same name as my brother.

Sunday: Usual taxi run taking the kids to and from hockey practice and dance clubs. Things made more hectic than usual as our two pet rabbits escape from their run as I did not close it properly the night before. We manage to catch them after a couple of hours.

l Graham Ashby is head of UK retail equities for Credit Suisse’s asset management business. His diary runs from September 22-28.