Clients benefit from our regular (and often vigorous) debates
I really enjoy being part of an experienced investment team and being able to discuss markets with Iain (Barnes) and Gerard (Lyons) on a daily basis. We debate our views regularly and discuss the best ways to translate these into positions for our portfolios. Without doubt I have benefitted from their insights and approach to managing money.
Staying up to date, and the work/life balance
Being well informed is incredibly important – as such I find that different forms of media are becoming an ever more important resource. In previous roles various IT policies denied access to such websites and apps but I now find them very useful platforms for staying up to date with news-flow, reading prominent economists and analysts’ viewpoints and challenging my own.
With the exception of the England cricket account (everybody needs a distraction now and then!), I tend to only follow people who I feel I can learn from and whose knowledge will ultimately benefit our clients.
One of my favourite aspects of the job is that no two days are the same and you constantly have to be aware of real-world events – which are often unpredictable by nature – and then assess the likely impact on portfolio returns. While we never make any knee-jerk responses, we must maintain our vigilance and constantly look out for information that challenges the status quo. The downside is that you are constantly analysing: managing global portfolios requires being clued up on events that are happening in different regions and time zones.
Yet it is essential to have downtime, where the phone or iPad is tucked out of sight, so I like to exercise or watch TV and reinvigorate the brain cells. In this respect – and you could argue it is not exactly switching off – I also like to read books written by successful investors to learn from their approach, or occasionally academics who challenge many of the concepts that have been prevalent in the financial industry for decades.
I am currently reading ‘The Most Important Thing’ by Howard Marks1, which has reinforced several key messages to consider as an investor. In particular, avoiding overconfidence, being aware of the dangers of extrapolating current trends in the business cycle into the future and demonstrating the ability to resist excesses is advice that resonates strongly with our investment approach at Netwealth.
Please remember that when investing your capital is at risk.
1Howard Marks is the chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles based investment firm with $80bn assets under management.