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Correspondent&#39s week

Due diligence – two words that have come to signify months of intensive work following the signing of heads of agreement to merge the businesses of ABN Amro and Artemis.

Most of the preparation work has been completed but, as we approach the final furlong, the critical approvals from the FSA are still awaited. Until those approvals are received, the series of closing meetings cannot take place and the merger cannot complete.

This is the prospect for the week as Monday dawns. It is all a bit surreal as we start the week under the ABN Amro banner and are likely to end it flying the Artemis flag.

The day is spent looking at the content of the presentation for the October roadshow. We are all struck by the enthusiasm of the Artemis fund management team who have clearly bought into the 18-venue programme. The prospects of late nights and long distance travel seem a long way off. The evening management meeting, which takes place every other day, reveals little in terms of issues but the FSA has yet to provide its blessing.

Tuesday is a different day. First stop is the dentist for an impression to complete a crown for a tooth that has succumbed to its sell-by date. At least there is no pain.

Lunch is a light relief as both daughters are in London during the last week of the summer holiday. A lively discussion of current fashion has me at a distinct disadvantage.

The FSA remains ominously quiet.

Wednesday is a big day. A combined sales team meeting and an evening press workshop for our Multi-Manager Premier Funds.

Lunch is also another lively affair. Today it is the urbane Chris Duncan who is destined to meet Aidan Kearney the man responsible for our Premier Funds Service. It is clear that Aidan&#39s knowledge of funds, their managers and investment style is not only extensive but also illuminating. Chris, as usual, asks lots of questions.

The press workshop also seems to be a hit. The format of drinks and snacks around an open discussion works well for us and we are soon involved with a volley of questions. Interest is heightened as the conversation turns to the latest fund manager move. In this instance, it is Tim Russell and team moving to Cazenove. Interestingly, as a holder of Tim&#39s fund, Aidan had been selling ahead of the announcement. Not only had the rumours of an impending departure been growing but critically Aidan needed to make room for another fund – a timely reminder that sell disciplines are just as important as buy disciplines.

The news filters through that the FSA has confirmed the approvals. Relief. We now have a clearer timetable for completion.

Thursday morning is an altogether more relaxing affair. The ability to get newspapers on the early train is a hit and miss affair which means that a small group of us travel together and share whatever is available, sometimes with amusing results.

Today is a special day as it coincides with the “baggage handler&#39s” 60th birthday. Bottles of champagne and glasses appear and the newspapers remain unopened. By the time the avuncular Peter Ruddy joins the train at Cobham the celebration is in full swing. Without a hint of protest, Peter becomes an instant convert. The normally quiet carriage has become distinctly voluble.

The need to communicate leads to a day of drafting releases. By close of play, all is complete and signed off. It now feels like the still before dawn.

Friday coincides with a trip back to the 1950s in the guise of the first day of the Goodwood revival meeting. Suitably dressed for the occasion, the benefits of a mobile phone will become apparent once the deal has been completed.

The call comes through just after lunch. Relief at last, it has happened. The press releases can be issued. I turn to Gordon Puckey, of our communications consultancy, who has been standing next to me amid the noise of a motor-racing circuit and solemnly hand him my very first Artemis card.

Nick Wells is product and communications director at Artemis Fund Managers

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