A week in the life of Aberdeen’s Celia Rodgers

Celia Rodgers is an investment analyst on Aberdeen Asset Management’s North American Equity team. Her diary runs from 4-10 August.

Celia Rodgers 700

Monday Every Monday morning the team meets to review research from the previous week. Today’s meeting is lengthy as earnings season has arrived. More than 40 of our current and potential holdings across our four funds reported last week. In the afternoon we have calls with VMware, a software company that provides virtualisation solutions from the desktop to data centre, and Drew Industries, a supplier of parts used in making mobile homes. I prep for a meeting in New York tomorrow with Quest Diagnostics, an operator of full-service laboratories.

Tuesday I arrive at the New York office by 7:30am. It has a view of Central Park, which looks amazingly peaceful. I am covering International Flavors & Fragrances’ second quarter earnings. Their report is in line with our expectations as revenue continues to grow. Later this morning we have our fortnightly call with the global equity team in Edinburgh. We talk at length about the potash market. The surprising disintegration of the marketing alliance last summer has made the industry topical through the year. We also chat about PepsiCo, noting the pros and cons of activist investors. We prefer to engage with management in a more private manner. I lunch with Quest Diagnostics. Some implications of the Affordable Care Act are still unknown, but management seems confident of opportunities for volume growth.

Wednesday I am slated to write up an analysis on the energy company Denbury Resources. In the afternoon we have our second team meeting of the week. We call this our product meeting as we review position sizes and weights in each of the funds. We flag a couple of securities exchange operators as potential adds. Low volatility has hindered their share price performance this year but we continue to believe in the long-term fundamentals. A lengthy discussion of our position in the pharmaceutical company Pfizer sparks an interesting debate on tax inversion. In the afternoon we have a meeting with one of our larger small-cap holdings, Worthington Industries.

Thursday I listen to US Ecology’s second quarter earnings call. It is a niche waste provider held in our small cap fund. The completion of an acquisition in June and strong volumes year-to-date prompt management to raise guidance. M&A activity has notably increased among our small-cap holdings this year. I do research on Generac, a generator manufacturer. We may need another meeting with management before feeling comfortable to flag it for our watch list. In the afternoon we meet with Aetna, a diversified healthcare benefits company, held in our large cap and long/short funds. I am once again reminded of the vagaries of healthcare reform. It is nearly time to bid our summer interns farewell. We take them to a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. 

Friday A quiet day. I finish research on Generac and do some follow-up research on Whirlpool, a home appliances maker. A team from Gibraltar Industries, a building products company, stops by for lunch. I am responsible for maintaining various models our team uses to aid portfolio analysis, and I update them in the afternoon.

Saturday I go for a run along the river and then meet friends for brunch.

Sunday I play tennis in the morning and in the afternoon finalise plans for a trip to Aberdeen’s London office.