The Diary of An Investment Specialist, Pt. 1

The UK Edge asked Andy Robbens, Investment Specialist at J.P.Morgan Asset Management what an average day for him looks like.


Andy, what time does your day start?

I set my alarm every morning for 5.45 and get the 6.29 train from Tonbridge.  I’m a creature of habit and so I’m in the office by 7.30 every day. I really appreciate the summer as getting up in the dark for most of the year can be quite challenging! The only official task I have before leaving the house is to say goodbye to my bleary-eyed daughters who stumble out of bed to give me a hug before going back to bed once I’ve left!

Do you get any work done before getting to the office?

My priority is always to read the news: I’ll generally look at the Companies section of the BBC as I find that investors generally focus their initial questions on the most recent events and the BBC website gives a good summary of anything that has happened overnight. I’ll also take stock of any emails that have come in overnight. The journey gives me the time to prioritise any tasks before I reach the office, so I know what I’m stepping into.

What is your first task of the day when you get into the office?

Once I have dealt with any urgent tasks, I then have to get my coffee! I find it difficult to operate without this caffeine fix. I’ll then deal with general enquiries that have come in that is, of course, unless any macro events have happened or there is any significant news regarding any of the stocks we hold in our portfolios.

How do you interact with the investment teams at J.P.Morgan?

Well, every morning there are investment desk team meetings which I may attend. These meetings are very important as, although I do sit with the investment team, it gives me the opportunity to really see what the team are thinking. It also gives me the opportunity to identify some great stock stories that can resonate with investors when I meet them.

So is your day filled with internal meetings?

Not if I can help it! I’m a big believer that meetings must have a purpose. Another meeting that provides great value is the Investment Directors meeting. The Investment Directors review all the portfolios managed by a particular sub-team on a quarterly basis and drill down into the detail of how the portfolios are being managed.  The Investment Directors essentially act as if they were a client and question the portfolio managers on all aspects of the portfolios including risk, performance and macro concerns.

What about the rest of your morning?

A significant portion of my time is spent preparing for and meeting with clients either to introduce products or to review portfolios which clients are already invested in. This is the part of the job I really enjoy, especially getting out to the regions.  London can be a bit of a bubble and it is fascinating to hear the views of people around the country.  It is also fantastic to see the UK!  We have some beautiful places around the UK and driving from meeting to meeting gives me the ability to really appreciate the great country I live in. There have been, however, some tricky journeys such as when we had the snow earlier in 2018 and I had to get to Manchester.  On another occasion, I landed in Belfast and just before we landed the pilot announced that this was the last time we would hear from him before we landed as he really needed to concentrate due to the weather!

I also find myself working on a lot of presentations - either for events I’ll be speaking at, or for client reviews, pitches and general updates.

Keep an eye out for part two, where I take you through a typical afternoon for me as an Investment Specialist at J.P.Morgan Asset Management. 

Read part two here.

You can also watch Andy in action in our new video series 'A day in the life of' - exclusive to UK Edge members. Sign up for free to access this great new video. 

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