I arrive at the office. Most days start with a look at the news. If there have been results from companies whose shares we own or that we keep a close eye on, I’ll have a more detailed look. Today there are results from an oil services company that we invest in, so I have a close look at these.
I crack on with a report I’m writing on a relatively small IT company that looks like it could have strong growth potential. I usually have a few weeks to write a report which gives me plenty of time to research the company and its end market. Ultimately I’m trying to decide whether we can make money for our clients by owning the shares. We’re long term investors here at Baillie Gifford, so we’re interested in what the company will look like in five or ten years time, not what’s going to happen in the next few months. This means technological, social, or demographic trends are often important parts of our investment cases. Trying to find good companies to invest in and reviewing our existing holdings is the most important part of my job.
For lunch I buy a sandwich and walk onto Calton Hill, which is right behind our office.
Tomorrow I have a meeting with the chief executive and chief financial officer of a FTSE 100 speciality chemicals company, so I spend a few hours reading up on the company to identify some of the issues I want to talk to the management about. It’s one of the peculiarities of this job that as a relatively junior analyst you get to meet with the senior management of some of the world’s biggest companies and ask them questions about their business.
I attend a news meeting with the rest of my team which consists of me, another analyst and four fund managers. We have two news meetings a week where we discuss any news that is relevant to our holdings or potential holdings. We tend not to make decisions on the back of these meetings, but it helps us keep on top of what’s going on. We also discuss any company meetings that we’ve had over the last few days.
Home time. The Edinburgh Fringe festival is on at present so, after a quick turnaround at home, I meet up with some friends from work for dinner, a few drinks, and a rather questionable comedy show.
Arrive at work and spend an hour looking at some company results and reading the FT.
Once a week we have a meeting where we discuss recent reports the team has written. Today we’re discussing a consumer goods company and an oil company. We talk about each company for about an hour and at the end the fund managers decide whether or not they want to buy any shares. This is always a fun part of the week. With luck, I’ll have my report finished by next week so we can discuss it at the next meeting.
I have a quick lunch at my desk and do a bit more preparation for meeting the management of the chemical company. Then I do a bit more research on the IT company.
I have an interesting meeting with the chemicals company. We spend some time discussing what they view their competitive advantage to be and how their relationships with their customers work. We also discuss the structural drivers behind sales and how these might develop over the coming years.
I write down a few thoughts on the meeting and send them round to my colleagues on the desk. I have reviewed this company before and think it will make a good investment, so I’m trying to persuade the fund managers to buy some shares.
I spend the rest of the day working on my current report. I have a dig around to see what I can find out about the management of the company and look at some of their potential competitors.
Home time. The sun is out (yes, we have sun sometimes in Scotland), so I think I’m going to go for a bike ride.