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Tuesday, 23rd April 2024
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A Day in the Life: investment director Back  
As investment director, Ireland, a key function of Jennifer Richards role is increasing Standard Life Investments’ local presence, as well as supporting Standard Life Assurance Company.
66.15am Wake up to Anne Marie Kelly thankfully (I hate it when they swap the DJs around to facilitate Ian Dempsey going on holidays), couldn’t start the day without her. Morning routine starts, we have it down to a fine art I faff around for an hour doing what I don’t know while my husband Paul manages to shower, get dressed, have breakfast, get our son Rhys up and dressed and probably empty the dishwasher as well!

7.17am In the car and on our way to join the moving car park. We live in Clonsilla, which is just a seven-mile journey but like most of Dublin it takes close to an hour to get to town. I could say that we all cycle to work but I would be lying! For a few months last year we did and it was great truly the only way to travel, but since joining Standard Life Investments I just haven’t organised myself enough to do this. Next week maybe…

7.35am Through the park and preparing to sit on the quays for a while.

8.05am Drop Rhys off at the Fitzwilliam Nursery on Herbert Street. He’s been going there since he was 14 weeks old (he’ll be two in August) and absolutely loves it thank God. Then drop Paul at Greene’s Bookshop on my way to St. Stephen’s Green. It’s lovely working in the centre of town the only slightly annoying thing is that before Rhys was born Paul and I used to live on Aungier Street which is about a 10 second walk to Standard Life’s offices that would have been so nice!!

8.15am Usual start to the day: check emails and my Lotus Notes calendar (the world’s best invention) to remind myself of the day’s activities. It’s been very busy since I joined in January, which is great. One of the key reasons behind my appointment was to increase Standard Life Investment’s local presence as well as giving more support to Standard Life Assurance Company. Today’s full diary reflects this I have a pension trustee meeting at 10am, and will be meeting some of the Dublin based brokers this afternoon

11.30am Client meeting went well pensions have been having a tough time as a result of the three-year decline in global stock markets and the rising cost of annuities. There has been a strong equity market rebound in the last 15 months or so, which is very welcome. Our clients are also a lot happier as our relative performance is also much improved. There was much discussion at the meeting on the three main risks to equity markets at the moment oil prices, interest rate rises and geopolitical activity.

12.00pm Teleconference with Edinburgh to discuss developments in liability driven investing. There is a growing trend in the pensions industry to move away from market related benchmarks and towards investing relative to the liabilities. One of the many strengths of being part of a life assurance company is that there are quite a lot of actuaries working both in SLAC and in Standard Life Investments. This puts us in a strong position to be able to examine both sides of the pension balance sheet.

1.00pm Quick lunch in Iveagh Gardens - God bless this good weather!

2.15pm Meeting with some Dublin based brokers to discuss new range of funds available through Standard Life’s PRSA and ARF product range. There is great need in the pensions market to offer more than just a ‘one size fits all’ type product. Investors/brokers realise that they need to be able to tailor a portfolio to suit their specific investment needs, attitude to risk and time horizon. While we have always had a large range of funds on offer, we have established three ‘bundled’ solutions which should suit investors in each of the three major time horizons: Cautious (Less than 5 years), Balanced (5 10 years) and Opportunity funds (10+ years).

4.00pm Irish GIG (Global Investment Group) meeting teleconference with Edinburgh. We have a meeting every Friday at 4pm after the main GIG meeting to discuss any strategy changes for Irish based clients. Indications are that the markets are willing to take on more risk. Decide to increase our Japanese equity position on the basis of further improving economic indicators, domestic activity and investor appetite for risk.

6pm Normally Paul and Rhys come up to the office and we all hit the moving car park again but tonight I am attending the launch of the Rehab Great Investment Race. This is the third time this race has run but the first time we have entered. It’s an excellent idea Rehab provides 7 investment managers with €100,000 each in real money. We invest this money over the course of the year with the objective of raising the highest possible return for Rehab. The proceeds go to providing support for families with autistic children an excellent cause.

8.15pm Home in time to put Rhys to bed. He’s in great form, all chat (well not exactly full sentences but to his mammy it’s a great conversation!). Paul has some cricket work to do (he’s running the fantasy cricket competition in Leinster Cricket Club) so I take the opportunity to ring home and see how life is in Wales. Then it’s a quick tidy up around the house and bed by 10.30pm (the excitement!!)

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