Monday is not usually an early start for me. Perhaps that owes something to the fact that I live next door to the village pub. On the basis that one should use it or lose it, weekends often find me supporting the adjacent hostelry so perhaps I should be grateful to the organisers of the local bridge congress in which I play – badly – on the Sunday. Partnering my wife, I fear the worst from the post-mortem but an examination of the results card demonstrates that it was our teammates who were most at fault. Phew!
The life of a freelance – or pluralist as someone once described my new life – usually provides the opportunity to work from home for one or two days. Not this week, though. My marketing consultancy takes me to the delightful market town of Bury St Edmunds for Monday and Tuesday.
The stockbroker employing my services locally introduces me to a firm of agricultural surveyors and then the local representatives of a national IFA. With the Suffolk Show less than three months away, I find the surveyors could well provide an opportunity to co-host a stand. Since many of the great and the good of the county visit the show, this seems an ideal profile-raising opportunityThe IFA, which I visit on Tuesday, is keen to co-operate on mutual clients. As the stockbroker does not have a financial planning arm, this proves easy to agree in principle. So easy, indeed, that shortly after we return to the office a new potential portfolio management client is being introduced to us. Would that all prospecting missions delivered positive results so swiftly.
Wednesday finds me on duty for the Association of Investment Companies’ roadshow at Aintree. Suffolk to Merseyside is not the easiest of journeys. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the following day I am due to sit on the investment question time panel at Money Marketing’s Financial Services Scotland event in Glasgow. My original plan to let the train take the strain by travelling from Liverpool on the west coast line is scuppered by the fatal train crash in Cumbria.
In the end, I elect to train it to Liverpool and back on Wednesday and then fly to and from Glasgow on Thursday. Stansted, my local airport, has convenient flights which I have used often and I am able to travel with panel chairman Dave Harris and learn of his latest exploits on the many golf courses he visits all around the world. How he finds the time to run his consultancy is a mystery to me.
Both events are well attended and, taking place as they do within days of global market turmoil, provide a useful opportunity to take the temperature of private investors and their advisers. Comfortingly, no one appears too deterred from investing although the IFAs did seem to hold some worries that property was being overhyped. This I found particularly revealing as this is a sector which, wearing yet another hat, I had been looking at closely.
Unusually, both modes of transport function to time so Friday, when I am due to visit London to attend the launch of the new PSigma income fund, dawns with me feeling fresher than expected. Messrs Mott and Chimes are in good form as they set out their stall for what appears will become the vehicle for the manager’s personal pension fund.
Lunch with some ex-colleagues, one of whom is now a headhunter intent on churning his former workmates, provides a relaxing end to the week and I depart to make an early start to a weekend that promises a taste of spring. After a week of travelling hither and thither, with no delays, I fall at the final hurdle. A simple train journey of 60 miles turns into a nightmare and I eventually roll home too late to start work in the garden. Every cloud has a silver lining.