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Tuesday, 11th August 2020
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Super Hooman investment manager Back  
Hooman Kaveh is chief investment officer of Mercer€s investment management business in Europe. In this role Kaveh is involved with the management of almost $17 billion of assets globally on behalf of pension funds and other institutional investors using a combination of international specialist investment managers together with advanced portfolio construction and risk management techniques.
7:00am Alarm goes off€ is it Monday morning already?! Still the kids are not back at school so traffic won€t be too bad. In the summer, the drive into work is only about 30 minutes so I€m at the office (on Adelaide Road) just after 8:00am. Still, at least I€m not off to London today otherwise it€s up at 6 to catch the 7:30am flight to London City on my least favourite airplanes (the little ones)! When that flight goes on time (mainly during the summer) I€m in our London office (Tower Place beside the Tower of London) by 9:30am.

8:15am I have to engage the brain early today as I have a conference call with a UK property fund manager at 8:30. Our team is divided by asset classes, Jan-Hein covers equities, Rob covers bonds, cash and LDI (Liability Driven Investments) while I tend to cover alternatives including property. UK commercial property appears to have peaked and the IPD index showed negative capital returns for the first time in a long time in July. The smart ones have been trying to reduce gearing and raise cash since the beginning of this year but properties are getting harder to sell and yields have already shifted up by 1 per cent. With the turmoil in the credit market it will be interesting to see how the highly leveraged investors (who had taken the market away from institutional investors) react!


9:45am Do the meeting note for this call and post it on the intranet before I forget and it gets left to be caught in the month-end sweep! Since we are a global company, we post all fund manager meeting notes onto a global intranet site so that all members of the four regional investment teams (Australia, Europe, US and Canada) can review them immediately.

10:00am Usual quick catch-up with the team on my way to get a cup of tea. The guys continue to delve into the current market turmoil using the various tools to stress test the various multi-manager equity and bond portfolios. The quant equity managers got hit hardest in the mid-August liquidity squeeze. Back at the desk I ring Rob who is based in London to catch-up with him too. He has been touching base with some specialist credit hedge fund managers to see how they have fared in the market turmoil.

10:15am Later than usual check emails and answer the quick ones. Australia have been at work for 9 hours already so Russell, CIO for Australia, has sent through a note on a new hedge fund product which he is going to include in their alternatives product. We are also launching an alternatives product which was developed together with the Australian team so we€ll look to include that hedge fund product too subject to our products risk budget.

11:00am I have a couple of conference calls today with a distributor at non and with our business development team at 3:00pm. Both groups would have received papers covering recent performance, strategy update and any manager changes in the portfolios but particularly with the distributor of investment products, their investment consultants will want to discuss recent market volatility and the outlook for markets. I spend the next hour getting ready for both these calls.

12:00pm Conference call. Amit, our head of institutional relationships, based in London is already on the line as is one of the offices for the distributor. Eventually everyone is online and Amit introduces the conference call before handing it over to me. I do a quick review of recent performance in both absolute and relative terms and the key drivers but I can tell from the questions so far all everyone wants to talk about is €sub-prime€. We get into the market discussions and I reassure them that the good thing about having boring investment grade and mainly government bonds in the portfolios is that they don€t have these sudden market events to worry about in what is suppose to be the safe component of a balanced portfolio.

1:15pm Conference call over its lunch time. It€s a horrible day outside so I get a sandwich in the canteen and make a cup of tea on the way back to eat lunch at my desk while reading the papers.

2:00pm We have our weekly product development and fund review meeting chaired by our operations manager, Carol Ann. We have been developing three new funds over the summer which have just launched. The first two are both property fund of funds and focus on the UK and European markets. The third is an alternatives funds.

2:30pm Back to the desk via the Bloomberg terminal to see how the US has opened and how Europe is reacting to the US open. Read and answer the quick emails. Now to get ready for the monthly conference call with the business development team at 3pm.

3:00pm Another conference call, intended to brief client facing people in detail on performance, strategy and manager updates so it takes us a couple of weeks after the month-end to prepare the information which for today is for the month of July. However, as expected with the current market turmoil, people are more interested in what was going on last week in mid-August when liquidity dried-up in financial markets.

5:00pm In London tomorrow to meet a couple of fund managers as well as participating in a seminar for Mercer€s Investment Consultants where we will give an update on our funds and strategies. In particular we will be focusing on Mercer€s LDI solutions for pension funds. Get all my papers together for tomorrow and print off a copy of the presentation for tomorrow afternoon.

5:30pm Save a few of the market updates that come in by email during the day onto my laptop to read on the plane in the morning and head home via the Bloomberg terminal to see how European markets closed and how the US is shaping up for the day. Now will I chance Pearse Street or will I take the East Link€

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