A Day in the Life: Portfolio Manager, Major Mutual Fund Firm

6:30 a.m.: Take train into office. Read The Wall Street Journal and several trade magazines. An article in an aviation magazine mentions a small aerospace firm that designs generic aftermarket parts. It sounds like an interesting company. I send the portfolio analyst a quick e-mail to gather additional information.

7:00 a.m.: Arrive at work. I have 100 e-mails sitting in my inbox. I quickly sift through the emails, paying particular attention to companies that have released quarterly earnings. Three companies whose stocks I own in the portfolio have reported earnings.

7:30 a.m.: The portfolio analyst comes into my office with preliminary research on the aerospace company. He has printed out several sell-side reports and a financial model. He tells me the company is growing the top line at 20 percent and generating positive free cash flow. I ask him if it will generate increasing returns on invested capital, which he tells me he expects it to. The company seems very interesting and meets our portfolio’s initial screening process, so I ask the portfolio analyst to continue researching and build out a detailed financial model.

8:00 a.m.: Review my calendar with my assistant. She notifies me that CEOs from four companies will be visiting the offices today. I ask to be signed up for two of the meetings.

8:30 a.m.: Attend the morning investment meeting. A new senior analyst covering pharmaceuticals has joined the firm and is initiating coverage on the industry. He puts hold ratings on two stocks in my portfolio. I ask several questions during his presentation. He agrees to follow up with me later in the day.

9:00 a.m.: Dial-in to earnings conference call. I’ll try to listen to as much of it as possible but realize I will probably be interrupted.

9:30 a.m.: My co-portfolio manager walks into my office. While we each manage 50 percent of the portfolio independently, we constantly inform each other of our ideas and trades. We discuss the week’s upcoming economic releases and how our portfolio is structured to react to certain data points.

10:30 a.m.: I attend a meeting with a CEO on his company’s road show. A “road show” occurs when a company files an initial public offering (IPO) and seeks to sell the equity to institutional investors. While I find the company and presentation to be interesting, I am going to pass on investing in the IPO.

11:30 a.m.: Return to my office. I have five new voicemails and 20 new e-mails. One message is from the product manager of the fund I manage. He is getting several inquiries from account managers over the quarterly performance of my portfolio. We set up a time to meet later in the day.

12:00 p.m.: Eat lunch while attending an industry update. The technology analyst is providing an annual update and outlook to our firm’s portfolio managers. Our firm provides lunch while the analyst formally presents his research and projections.

1:00 p.m.: Monitor portfolio. Check to see if any stocks have particularly large gains or losses. There are currently no abnormal returns.

1:30 p.m.: Attend another meeting with the CEO of a restaurant company. CEOs and CFOs often go on the road several times a year to meet with institutional investors. I have owned this particular stock at several points throughout the last five years and know the CEO quite well. The meeting is quite casual and we discuss the outlook for his business amidst a potential pending recession.

2:30 p.m.: Contact trader. Make several trades in order to meet new fund flows.

3:00 p.m.: Meet with the pharmaceuticals industry analyst to gain further understanding behind his investment theses on the two stocks I hold in my portfolio.

4:00 p.m.: Meet with the product manager for my fund. While our performance has been decent in the last quarter, it fared much better than some of its closest competitors. The product manager wants a detailed understanding of the “moving parts.”  He conveys this information to several account managers whose clients have large positions in the fund.

5:00 p.m.: Touch base with the portfolio analyst and see if he has gotten any further work done on the aerospace company from this morning. He has set up a conference call with a sell-side analyst the next day to discuss the company.

5:30 p.m.: Leave for home.