A day in the life of...John Dance, founder of Newcastle based boutique, Vertem Asset Management.
My day usually starts at around 6am, depending on whether two hungry Dobermans beat my alarm to the punch in waking the house up in the morning.
Once the dogs have been let in to the garden then – like many of my peers – the TV goes on and I catch up with the news around the world.
CNBC is the channel of choice at home and throughout the day in the office.
I will usually arrive in the office for around 7.30–8am, though my colleagues will testify that since the arrival of the aforementioned pooches, the ‘range’ has become more extreme at both ends.
First job is to check for any urgent overnight emails and take action where necessary. Then I start making my way through company announcements and market reports.
My colleague Gary Stockdale circulates a morning ‘observations’ email identifying interesting news from the day’s company updates and valuation opportunities. This frequently prompts a discussion with the relevant person covering any stock of particular interest and acts as a catalyst for further analysis.
We sit down together as an office, contest and discuss the stock notes we each circulate on a daily basis and make group decisions on whether they warrant inclusion or exclusion from portfolios.
We have similar discussions regarding asset allocation and the factors that influence it. While Gary and I carry the most sway in these types of decisions, we have a real collegiate approach and the whole team have influence in one way or another.
The way markets operate and act has changed greatly since I started in the industry and they evolve at an ever increasing pace.
Part of my time is spent evaluating our investment process and ensuring it also evolves to suit the way markets behave – never anything dramatic, just small tweaks and refinements that hopefully have helped us maintain performance.
Often, chunks of the day are sacrificed to either fund manager meetings or fund sales rep meetings.
The latter can be time-consuming but as we like to have a real feel for what is happening within the funds we hold, it is important to maintain good relationships to help facilitate information flow.
I find my email inbox an uncontrollable beast at times, most days will see 150+ emails and even allowing for spam and ‘too good to be true’ offers, there is quite some volume to make my way through.
News items and fund updates make up a large portion, but there is always a healthy dose of client queries and IFAs looking for investment proposals for new clients or those whose needs have changed.
I also have the business itself to run, software queries, developments, problems with custodians or wrapper providers, which always make untimely appearances and make doing any of the above from paragraph two onwards quite a stretch.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful team, who are very dependable and plug on with tasks when I don’t have time. A day in their lives would probably start and end with ‘carry John’…
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