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Sunday, 21st April 2024
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Equity markets and tennis balls Back  
After a day bouncing around the world’s equity markets, John Reynolds, head of equity research and strategy at NCB, spends the evening on the court.
5.00am It's Monday. That means getting out of bed at the unearthly hour of 5am and into the car as quickly as possible for the two hour drive to Dublin from my family home in Down. Sounds mad. Well, it has it's benefits. By the time I arrive at the IFSC around 7.20am, I have caught up with all the international and domestic news and have had the chance to listen to some of my favourite music. No chance of that at the weekend, with three young children under the age of eight to amuse.

7.30am With my coffee and croissant in hand, I greet the early arrivers in the research department, sit down at my desk and switch on my PC. After a brief review of the global bond and equity markets, I scan for any domestic corporate announcements, prepare for the morning meeting and take in my appointments for the day.

8.00am The equity morning meeting is an important event. It starts at 8am and normally finishes by 8.15am. I kick off the meeting on a Monday with my views on the outlook for the market. Our research analysts then deliver their key actionable company ideas for the day. These are then edited into our 'Morning Meeting Highlights' and distributed to our dealers and institutional clients by our research manager Jane Riordan.

A key feature of the way we at NCB approach our investment recommendations is through a thorough global sector approach. Our analysts have been drawn from major international investment banks situated in Frankfurt, London, New York and as far afield as Singapore. This is unique amongst Irish stockbroking companies.

After the morning meeting it's back to my office to deal with the incoming post and e-mail which normally takes me through to around 9am. I tend to have between thirty to forty e-mails each morning to filter through. During the rest of the day I can receive anywhere up to another fifty e-mails. Keeping on top of e-mail is, therefore, an on-going battle.

I then take a little tour of the floor to review with the research team their schedules for the day and deal with any issues that may arise. I tend to spend a lot of time with the analysts on an ad hoc basis discussing the relative merits of their sectors and, as such, prefer a more informal management style, going from analysts desk to desk where possible to discuss the investment issues.

10.00am I am then off with Jim O'Donovan, NCB's Head of Equity Sales, for a 10am meeting with an institutional investor. My thirty minute presentation centres on the outlook for the Irish equity market, but necessarily involves a discussion of both the US and European scene. I leave plenty of time for questions and enjoy the ensuing discussion. In a nutshell, I think that equity makets will be higher by year-end, but that rising interest rates in the US and Europe will present us with a better buying opportunity over the next month or so.

On return to the office, I use the rest of the time before lunch making and receiving calls from our core clients both at home and abroad in the UK and Europe.

11.00am Most days I tend to have a quick meeting with my research manager, Jane Riordan around 11am. Over the past few months we have developed a number of new research products and have been working on upgrading our production processes and IT systems. I am always keen to look at fresh new ideas. In such a competitive world, I believe that it is essential to keep an open mind and constantly appraise the way we do things. As such, I am a strong believer in the slogan ‘evolve or die’ and actively encourage my team to think that way too.
One important development since my arrival six months ago has been the adoption of an open door policy. Along with the rest of the management team at NCB, I have been keen to encourage cross fertilisation between departments. Our research philosophy is to offer the best possible service to our broad range of institutional, corporate and retail customers. Jane Riordan's arrival from her seven year stint at a leading brokerage in New York has assisted us greatly in that regard. Having edited the Morning Meeting Highlights for our institutional client base, Jane then prepares our Private Client Market Snapshot.

Mid-day Lunch is spent with the management of a major Irish corporate, hosted by our Managing Director, Conor O'Kelly, in the boardroom. We run through the latest developments at NCB and our new product offerings, but the main purpose of the lunch is to bring our team up to date with key events at the company and forge a closer understanding between both parties.

2.00pm After lunch, Wall Street is bouncing into action and US clients are keen for any critical news updates. I field a handful of calls from clients in New York and Boston, before sitting down with research team for an internal meeting at 3.30pm. This thirty minute session focussed on product development. An internal meeting with Corporate Finance at 4pm is then followed a brief review of the days business and core equity issues with Jim O'Donovan after the close of the market at 5.30pm.

6.00pm The time between 6pm and 7pm is used for analysing market movements and preparing thoughts for tomorrow's morning meeting.

7.00pm After a good day at work it is time to relax. I drive to my retreat during the week in Ballsbridge, grab a sandwich and head off for a game of tennis. Tonight's opponent is just a little too good. Odhran O'Reilly is a law graduate who works in NCB's Investment Funds department. He is a very keen level three tennis player who plays at the Landsdowne Club. I make a promising start, but Odhran claws back and wins through. After a humbling at the hands of a much younger fitter man, I head off home at 10pm. Its straight to bed, exhausted but relaxed.

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