The value of investments and any income from them can fall and you may get back less than you invested.

A Day in the Life: What exactly does an investment manager do?

Rob Burgeman works for Brewin Dolphin. So what does an investment manager do? Here he describes what a typical working day holds for him.

My day always starts early with the alarm going off at 5:45am, when I’m greeted by Farming Today. While I shower and get myself ready for work, I catch up on overnight events with the Today Programme. I live in Leigh-on-Sea so need to be out of the door by 6:30 in order to catch the train and be at my desk before 8am.

On the train, I catch up on market activity and the day’s news by reading the Financial Times and The Times cover-to-cover before grabbing breakfast at the station to eat on the hoof. The first thing to tackle each day is emails; hundreds land in my inbox each day and keeping on top of them all is a major task. Before the team meeting at 8:30am, I respond to the urgent emails and plan what I’m going to get done that day.

Then it is time to head into the morning meeting. Every day, my team get together and we look at what has happened in the investment world and how it might affect our client portfolios. For example, recently the Threadneedle American Select Fund announced a management team change. This brought a degree of uncertainty to the fund and, as a result, we reviewed our rating.

Vital for an investment manager to focus on the needs of each individual

After the meeting, I act on any decisions we have made. So if we’ve changed our position on a fund, I look at my client portfolios and whether it affects them, then make any necessary changes. A decision in the morning meeting may not affect all my clients, even if they hold that investment. I have to weigh up each portfolio individually. For example, selling might trigger a 40% tax charge, making it a bad move in those individual circumstances.

The rest of the morning is spent looking at the portfolios I manage. Sometimes I tackle this horizontally – looking at one asset or fund, assessing it, then making changes where necessary across all clients. At other times, I take a vertical approach – going through one client’s entire portfolio and making sure it is balanced and reflects their current needs. The valuable insights of our in-house research team also make a big difference.

I may also have a client meeting in the morning. In these, I update my knowledge of their financial circumstances, in case anything has changed. The process might seem a bit boring to other people, but it is impossible to advise someone unless I have a very clear understanding of their financial position. I also report back to them on how their portfolio is doing and what we expect for the year ahead.

Lunch is usually a snatched sandwich at my desk while I tackle my rapidly expanding inbox, unless I have a business lunch booked in with a client or company.

Always assessing opportunities

In the afternoons there are more client meetings, or I may have a company or fund management group coming in to talk me through their business or funds. You have to be a big sponge in this business, constantly absorbing information that may become useful in the future. For example, I may meet with a business and then four months later decide the time is right to invest in it. Then the knowledge I picked up in that earlier meeting will prove invaluable.

At five o’clock it’s time to go home. I don’t work late in the office, although I often work at home in the evenings. I have to maintain a good work/life balance and make sure I spend enough time at home so that the dogs don’t growl at me!

By 6:30pm I am back at home, although I’m not there for long. I go to the gym twice a week and I’ve signed up to an art class, so on a Monday, I am out of the door and off to improve my drawing skills. It is an enjoyable way to spend the evening escaping words and numbers completely.

I’m not a night owl and by 10pm I’m in bed for my eight hours’ sleep before it all starts again.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

The opinions expressed in this document are not necessarily the views held throughout Brewin Dolphin Ltd.

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