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Thursday, 13th August 2020
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A Day in the Life: Liam Boggan, head of research for Merrion Stockbrokers Back  
As head of research for Merrion Stockbrokers, Liam Boggan’s day starts very early, as he aims to get the firm’s Morning Note out by 8 o’clock each morning. As a former head of sales with another broker, Boggan prioritises ensuring that the firm’s research output meets the demands of investors, and spends part of his day discussing issues with clients.
05:52am Alarm goes off, and the day begins in earnest. I like to try to listen to the news headlines on RTE at 06:00am before jumping out of bed and into the shower. By six thirty or so I am ready to leave the house. I live in Donnybrook and so the most efficient way for me to get to work is actually to cycle. I can be at my desk within ten minutes of leaving the house. It is a shame that the Insomnia coffee shop in Ballsbridge has had a recent change of manager as it was possible to pick up a coffee and breakfast on the way and still be at my desk by 6.45am. I have had to explain away my cycling to the rest of the stockbroking community, but it beats all other modes of transport for such a short journey to the office.
Liam Boggan


06:50am Log on to Bloomberg as soon as I arrive in the morning, and proceed to check all the news for items of relevance to the Irish market as well as checking on last night closing prices in the USA. I have been equipped with the latest technology in the form of a Blackberry with mobile Bloomberg so there is never any e-mails waiting attention when I come in as I tend to them immediately when they arrive.

07:00am News and company results are released and the Merrion research team are hard at work analysing and coming to a view of about the implications for any results or trading statements. This week as we come back after the Christmas and New Year break there are a number of companies who are issuing pre‑close trading statement s in Ireland and in the UK which are relevant. We have a morning meeting at 07:25am every day to brief the sales desk and the trading team about the news and changes to forecasts and recommendations. There is pressure to have the morning meeting completed by about 07:45 in order for the sales team and traders to be able to get on the phones and call their domestic and international clients.
For the research team, there is a high priority to get the Morning Comment out early. This industry is becoming ever more competitive and having been a salesperson for years and head of Ireland equity sales at ABN AMRO in Dublin for five years prior to joining Merrion, I have strong views on the type of content that investors and sales persons are looking for from a morning note. I have no doubt that Merrion is in a strong position to add value to clients because of the fact that we are independent in Dublin and can be free to articulate strong views on stocks.
08:10 Morning Comment hits the website and is e-mailed out to clients simultaneously. At this stage the focus switches to client contact. While I am the head of research at Merrion, I still believe strongly in maintaining the client contacts that I have built up over the years wherever possible so I take my time to ensure that clients are kept up to date with changes in our view and fresh ideas as they are generated. I usually try to spend two to three hours at this stage calling clients. To be honest I find this to be an invigorating part of the day, and all the clients that I regularly speak to I have known for many years so discussions can be very broad and wide ranging.
The Irish market is fascinating in a number of respects. Firstly, it is small in terms of the number of stocks, and from a stockbrokers point of view this is a real issue in terms of the numbers of stocks which it is sensible to apply research resources to cover. From an institutional investors perspective there is a limited number of stocks which are of sufficient size to justify holding as part of a diversified portfolio. The Irish stocks do share common characteristics in terms of quality of track record in delivering earnings growth, strong balance sheets and articulate managements who are shareholder friendly. As a result the Irish market commands a much higher percentage of international investors’ time than is apparently justified by the absolute size of the market. That this continues is crucial for the future of the industry here and all new IPOs are welcomed by all the brokers.

10:00am Meet with head of equities, Adrian O’Carroll, to discuss some of the opportunities that lie ahead for Merrion post the acquisition of Merrion Stockbrokers by the Icelandic Bank Landsbanki. Our new partners and 50 per cent shareholders Landsbanki have recently acquired both Teather and Greenwood in the UK and Kepler in Europe, and have now a pan-European securities footprint. It is early days but should offer Merrion significant further opportunity to leverage our product knowledge and improve our overall distribution. The combined group will have nine offices between Ireland, UK, Europe and USA and Iceland.

11:00am Leave the office to meet with an institutional fund manager to present my views on how Merrion Research can add value to their performance and to talk about my plans for the product. Having had the opportunity to take on responsibility for a high quality team in a house with a reputation for strong research calls, my initial goal is to improve the distribution and communication of the product rather than attempting to make any significant changes to the house style.

12:30pm Client lunch meeting. It is always useful to have an opportunity to catch up with clients and particularly meeting someone over lunch provides a more informal forum for a broad discussion on markets and individual stocks.

14:15pm Back in the office and looking ahead to the opening of New York stock exchange and to track any further newsflow that has come out over lunch. There is time for some more calls to clients.

16:00pm Time to prepare for the daily research meeting at market close.

16:30pm Meet the research team to discuss the days events and to try to put a shape on the morning comment for the following day. Some days this meeting can be brief and other days depending on newsflow and market volatility it can be a source of useful ideas.

17:00pm Catch up with the sales guys about the market and review research work in progress.

18:00pm Leave office for five minute cycle home, to rejoin the family for dinner and leave some time to play with the kids before they go to bed, which is normally somewhere after eight pm.

21:00pm After the kids have gone to bed, sit down and watch the RTE news and then either read or channel hop for a while before going to bed myself.

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