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Thursday, 18th April 2024
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‘Nobody went broke taking a profit’ Back  
Paul Guest is head of the premier trading desk in Davy’s Private Client division. The desk provides an institutional style trading service which is tailored to meet the needs of high net worth clients who are interested in active trading rather than long-term investment portfolios.
77.00am It takes exactly thirty minutes from wake-up to the desk every morning. On the way to the office a client phones to fix a time for a call to review his portfolio. I agree to call him back mid-morning.

7.30am I get to my desk half an hour before the Irish and UK markets open at 8.00am. I use this time to go through e-mails, read broker reports and scan any financial news and market information that may be relevant to my clients. Clients tend to ring in before the market opens, particularly when any company results are due. There are usually phone calls from brokers with specific trading ideas - today is no different as a London broker rings with an exciting trading idea.

8.00am We have our daily Premier Trading Desk meeting. This is an essential part of the team’s day. We use this meeting to put together our trading strategies and discuss markets and economic news forecasts. Lately most of the trading ideas are based around the Irish market given our strong research edge and the general optimism surrounding ‘Ireland Inc.’

8.30am As it is Tuesday, we have our weekly research meeting which is attended by all of the Private Client team. A senior member of our institutional equity team is giving a presentation on his view of the Irish market. He is very positive on the ISEQ which had an excellent run in 2004 and continued into the New Year with a 3.5 per cent climb in January. He gives an interesting trading switch idea that I suggest to my clients later in the day.

9.00am I get back to my desk and on to the phone. I like to keep in close contact with the more active clients during the day. I give them a rundown of what is going on in the market, the status of their investments and explain any new trading ideas. Trading volumes are heavy today, with my clients opening numerous positions in the Irish market. Ireland is flavour of the month with its strong growth prospects and value. Momentum continues to push the market higher. As you would expect trading activity has increased significantly with the strong performance of the market.

10.00am I meet with members of our compliance and operations departments. We review ongoing compliance requirements, client suitability, procedures and controls which are critical to safeguard the integrity of our business.

10.45am One of our directors drops down to discuss the Premier Trading Desk business strategy I presented to senior management last week. He is happy with the progress of the desk which has been beefed up considerably over the last 6 months, with further growth plans for the future. The director has been around the market for a long time, and leaves me with the words of advice - ‘Nobody went broke taking a profit’.

11.15am Back on the phones - this activity takes up most of my time. I hope my handset is not a long term health hazard. Regular contact with clients is important as this business is all about relationships.

11.30am A small UK PLC comes into present to the division. I try not to miss these kind of presentations as it is important to know the quality, depth and experience of the management and to hear their strategy going forward.

1.00pm I try to meet clients for lunch every day and today is no different.. I genuinely enjoy meeting clients because they come from all walks of life. They provide me with a diverse range of viewpoints, giving me a better insight into their drivers while also enabling me to stay informed on all aspects of the Irish economy. My clients tend to have two common traits – an appetite for calculated risk and a constant re-evaluation of the opportunity cost associated with their current investments – for example should they migrate from a property investment into equities or vice versa.

2.00pm I make it back to my desk and hit the phones.

2.30pm The American market opens. Each member of the desk is on the phones. Trades for the US market are surprisingly plentiful today in the majors. The trend is downwards which gives some good buying opportunities.

4.00pm A German broker rings me with a good idea on a German stock. However, after looking at the alternatives I decide not to go with this idea. One of my key objectives this year is to broaden our trading strategies to include selected high performing European stocks. While the Irish market continues to out-perform it is important to give clients the option to switch into other markets and sectors.

4.30pm The markets close. The phones die down. I take stock and evaluate my clients’ positions.

5.00pm I give a presentation to a group of clients to explain Contracts for Differences (CFDs), their benefits, risks and uses. CFDs enable clients to generate superior gains on equity trades, but they also involve a higher level of risk and are only appropriate for experienced investors. However there are many clients who have an understanding of and an appetite for leverage and are willing to take on the associated risks.

5.45pm I get back to my desk and return a few phone calls.

6.00pm I take the opportunity to wrap up early today as evenings can often be taken up with clients who are too busy to meet during the day.

6.30pm A quick swim and then off to the cinema, something I have not done in a long time.

8.00pm The movie starts and I immediately switch off.

10.30pm Lights out!

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