My early morning reading has already earned dividends. The hot current affairs item of the week is turning out to be the issues around Credit Suisse (CS) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Through my reading and my academic background (Finance & Investment Banking), I am able to inform the team that although the timing around both banks’ issues is close together, they have arisen for different reasons. With everyone’s input, we conclude that although there is strain in the banking sector due to individual banks’ poor liquidity-and-risk management, the downfall of CS and SVB will not cause systemic risk of crisis within the banking sector.
The meetings on the whole discuss current affairs & macroeconomic views, Fund Manager meetings, market news and upcoming economic events (such as Central Bank meetings). Everyone has settled into specialisms, though we give our input into all areas and we make sure we cross over every now and then to make sure we stay up to date. Shingirai specialising in Fund Managers and Market news, with myself specialising on current affairs and economics.
It is always an interesting meeting as we have naturally different investment styles matching our personalities; as a result, there is often a healthy debate on current investment matters but we almost always end up with a consensus view.
09:15 – Actions from Team Meeting
The Credit Suisse debacle has crossed over the two other parts of my role (Structured Products leader & Automation Lead). I have been working on an automation coding project which collects all the valuations of our assets under our management at as near to live as possible. Credit Suisse had been a large counterparty of Structured Products in the past and, although our initial assessment was that the holders of these products are not at risk, it was important that we could identify holders of these investments to inform them of our position. Fortunately, I was near completion on this automation and we discovered that no clients held Structured Products whereby Credit Suisse was a counterparty.
Regardless, I used the opportunity to demonstrate to advisory staff the benefits in our Due Diligence process on these, as it had flagged Credit Suisse as one being “below average” in terms of preferred counterparty several years ago.
11:15 – Loan Appraisal
Myself and Mark manage a Loan Portfolio Company, Summerwood Place, on behalf of a group of clients. It has been an interesting 6 weeks for the company as we have had a large spate of unplanned redemptions which resulted in us having a large amount of cash unallocated to loans and therefore not earning interest.
I had received a direct enquiry from a platform intermediary asking whether I would like exclusive access to a loan opportunity. Immediately I go to work putting the proposal through our Due Diligence process. Although the proposer has included their own Due Diligence pack and valuation report from a RICS Chartered Surveyor, it is incredibly important that we go beyond this and verify its claims to draw our own conclusion. As this is a property backed loan, I compare yields on the underlying security to its comparables recently sold in auctions as well as market benchmarks before looking at the prospective lender’s credit report and the Land Registry Title. Finally, there is the aspect of a more subjective nature in the market forecast. These are multi-year agreements and although the security may be good now, does it look like it will be in 5 years time? After further discussion with the platform to clarify several points, the loan is approved.
Although we have had a very large amount of unplanned redemptions in the last 6 weeks, we have worked very hard to reduce this figure but not slipping in our need to be diligent and create good risk-adjusted returns. I have been very pleased that we have become fully lent out again already. This helps the vehicle be more efficient than other methods and enhance returns for clients.
14:00 – Fund Manager Meeting
I always enjoy these, a well worked relationship results in little snippets of information that are hard to gather elsewhere. Like most bits of news that result in outperformance (or “positive Alpha”), they are often nuanced but important. A great example of this is actually in the notes that come out from Central Bank meetings where a single subtle word change can result somewhat in a changed market view.
It is important in these meetings to separate the emotion of whether the Fund Manager has done a good job of fulfilling their mandate, versus us as a team picking the correct mandate. This is important when we analyse what aspect of our portfolio management is performing (in)correctly. For example, if the fund was underperforming the market, if this was due to the fund manager not picking well in its sector, we may look to replace it with another in the same sector. If the sector as a whole is underperforming, it will be a different prompt for us to look at different market sectors.
Post meeting, it is important that I immediately write up my notes and send them around to all stakeholders. You just know that if you leave it till later in the day, you’ll forget that one nuanced point that you really wanted to bring up in the next meeting!
16:00 – Day/Week ahead planning
I always find it better to plan my day the day before rather than on-the-day. It helps us as a team be ahead of the news and perform best for our clients.
Looking at the next couple of days, I am reminded that both the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England are meeting to decide their policy rates. Always an interesting series of days.
I double check the data-points that have come out over the last few days to review our forecasts, although we maintain these (It later turns out that these were accurate).
I reply to a series of emails from advisory staff asking for the team opinion on Credit Suisse/Silicon Valley Bank along with other matters. I really enjoy this aspect of my role in informing people of what is going on. We can go into the fine detail of aspects that aren’t necessarily appropriate to put in a news bulletin and also put a degree of personal opinion in. importantly though, it makes sure that we, as a team, are on top of topics on a broad basis rather than just the immediate headline.
Then, it’s time to head home, knowing that we are well prepared for another exciting day tomorrow.