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Correspondent’s Week

Monica Woodley

I do not recommend starting a Monday morning with financial exams.

Together with my Money Management colleagues Jeff Salway and Holly Williams, I joined hopeful IFAs-to-be at the Royal Horticultural Halls for the first two of the three Financial Planning Certificate exams, a requirement for all MM writers.

Trying to remember such important facts as how often an IFA’s staff should be trained to spot money laundering (every 24 months for those that are interested), I kept getting distracted by the wheezing of one of the invigilators circling the room. Afraid that he might drop dead at my feet, I quickly finished my exams and returned to the office to get stuck into my feature on investment trusts for the June issue.

Wednesday evening, the MM team was treated to drinks by our publisher Neil Barwick. During the course of the evening, we discovered that he was illegally working as a barman in Jacksonville, Florida at the same time that I lived there as an illegally bar-hopping high school student with a fake ID that said I was from Argentina. Small world.

The desire to let loose after finishing our exams led a few of us to drink a bit more than planned that evening so the next day I was not feeling on top form. Fortunately, I had a nice lunch out to make the day go faster with Wintertheur pension guru Mike Morrison at Home in Shoreditch.

Feeling revitalised, I returned to the office to delve further into the world of investment trusts before meeting my husband and some friends for drinks in Soho and dinner in Chinatown. My recovery was short-lived though and I realised I was probably not with it enough to be out in public when I did not twig that I was in a Cuban cigar bar until I stumbled into a walk-in humidor instead of the toilet.

Friday morning began with a breakfast meeting at Terminus in Liverpool Street with Witan Investment Management’s James Budden.

Over discussion of the state of investment trusts after split caps and the bear market, I tucked into what turned out to be a huge breakfast.

Having quickly pointed to something on the menu while frantically taking notes, I was dismayed when the waitress brought out three plates – all for me as my fellow diners had had breakfast before our breakfast meeting.

Embarrassed that I had ordered so much, I resolved to do my best and by the time that I had finished a bowl of cornflakes, several slices of toast and a few pastries I was bursting at the seams. Literally, I found when I got back to the office – the repair job on my trouser seam had come undone. I found that having a hole in the backside of my trousers was a huge motivator to stay sitting at my desk and those few hours before lunch were the most productive that I had all week.

After buying a replacement pair of trousers at lunchtime, I finished the day arranging meetings for the next week with Jupiter and Close Finsbury.

To celebrate not having to study any more (or at least not until the next set of FPC exams in July) I plan on a spot of retail therapy over the weekend. With the Headline Money awards coming up, I have convinced myself that I need some new duds in case I happen to win in the Rising Star (trade media) category. Although, according to MM deputy editor Jon Cudby, I am doomed to be the bridesmaid to a reporter from a weekly.

I will have to dress to impress on Tuesday as well when the MM team will become an artist’s subject.

To celebrate the launch of its wrap platform – or because it is a good gimmick to make journalists feel important – Lifetime is sending a cartoonist to our offices to draw us while we work, creating a masterpiece to hang proudly on our office wall.

Monica Woodley is a staff writer at Money Management



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