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Correspondent&#39s week

Monday, 6am. Alarm goes off. It feels like the middle of the night. It&#39s my third week in my new job as corporate communications manager at Selestia. I rush around my (new) flat, looking for my (new) suit and my (new) bag.

8.30am. Arrive at Selestia offices in St Albans, where I will spend three days a week – the other two I will be based at our London office.

The office is busy. I begin sorting through my in-tray and checking my emails, a couple of which are from my former colleagues at Lansons. We discuss industry gossip, journalist moves and Laura Cronin&#39s latest appearance in the much esteemed Out of Context page in Money Marketing.

I begin working on a press release covering new funds and a questions and answers document on a distribution deal we are negotiating.

Around me, the chatter is of investment solutions, bid/offer spreads, annual management charges and asset allocation. I sit with the investment technical team, Matt and Graham. Their vast knowledge of the market is astonishing but consequently their humour can at times be a little niche.

In the afternoon it&#39s off to Harpenden – “Where?” you may well ask – for the annual sales meeting. The whole company is here, some 63 people. Managing director Brett Williams talks through our business plan for 2003. I feel excited to be part of this new and growing company. I celebrate with a few drinks in the bar with the executive team afterwards. The train journey home is spent reviewing the day.

The evening is filled with the joy of dealing with my recently bought, recently flooded flat, complete with site visit, furniture removal and a quick check though a pile of post from a somewhat defensive Thames Water regarding the “incident”. Return home to dry rented flat, exhausted.

Tuesday. Arrive early at work for the much-anticipated CP166 document regarding depolarisation. I call an urgent meeting at noon with Brett Williams, marketing director Bill Vasileff and our sales director in charge of distribution, Dave Hazelton.

11.45am. The true extent of my technical fears is realised as my draft response becomes lost in the abyss that is Microsoft Windows. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of Anthony, our technical expert, who patiently recovers my work in a matter of seconds.

Phew, back on track for noon. We discuss the implications of the document for IFAs and consumers and start to work on our response. The rest of the day is spent dealing with calls, issuing a statement and drafting an internal summary to send to our regional sales managers, as well as fighting off calls from my loss adjuster, builder and damp proofing expert.

Wednesday. Back up to St Albans in the morning for an 8.30am marketing meeting with Bill Vasilieff. In the afternoon, it&#39s off to Kings Cross to board the train for Leeds, where we are hosting the last in a series of 10 IFA dinners to discuss the future surrounding the IFA market.

The train is predictably delayed and packed but, no matter, I arrive in good time. All 30 IFAs turn up on time, as do all five of the speakers. I can see the relief on the face of Jody, who has masterminded the whole operation. While the debate is lively, the evening passes without a bread roll being thrown. But you can feel the heat in the air as we discuss depolarisation, straight-through processing and the future for financial advice.

Thursday. Back to London to spend the day out in the field meeting IFAs in the company of one of the regional sales mangers, Daniel Goldstein. This takes me back to when I was an adviser and, by the end of the day, I am shaking from the volume of caffeine from the strong coffee at each IFA visit. The day goes well, Daniel is pleased and we are on target for the month.

I return home for dinner with friends. The topics of flats and the cost of damp proofing are studiously avoided.

Friday, 8.30am. Head back to our London offices, where I meet another regional sales manager, Dave Tasker, who is to spend the day with me meeting IFAs. We brave the Tube together, weighed down by laptops and product brochures. The visits go well, with IFAs signing up to the service.

Before I know it, it is 6pm and time to celebrate the end of my third week by heading down to Farringdon for drinks with friends and colleagues from the industry.

Pippa Russell is head of corporate communications at Selestia

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