UK fund selectors give their unique take on the rapidly evolving global coronavirus crisis from a professional and personal perspective. Today, we hear from Andrew Summers, head of fund research at Investec Wealth & Investment.
How does the market fallout from the coronavirus pandemic compare with other tough times during your career? Are there lessons you have learnt during your career that can help you now?
There are clear parallels with the Global Financial Crisis, particularly the huge volatility and an "end of the world" feel about a lot of conversations.
Yes, this is difficult, but it feels rather similar. Yet it is scarier because it is a health emergency which few of us know much, or anything, about; we are all dissipated and working from home, which is challenging; and most of us are worried about family members and trying to deal with challenging domestic circumstances (such as foraging for food and looking after children).
What are the key pieces of data or commentary you are looking at to help you analyse the situation?
Government short-term support, given the vast majority of the economy will go back to normal after all this. But a lot of businesses just cannot survive without any revenue for months on end.
Also, signs that the lockdown measures in place that are impacting businesses are working by bending the curve. The messages here are likely to be mixed due to a plethora of data from different countries and the difficulties in making like-for-like comparisons.
Expect the market to focus on one or two single measures in time that most people think have the most efficacy.
What are fund managers saying to you about their biggest challenges and opportunities at the moment?
It depends on strategy, but equity managers are generally focusing on P&L visibility and balance sheet strength.
In addition, expect them to be looking at relative valuation opportunities within sectors, even if they do not feel comfortable making sectoral changes without more information.
How are you communicating with clients or advisers at this time? How are you adjusting to you and your teams working from home? What practical tips would you share for working in this way?
A daily call, focusing on getting technology right and checking in with everyone once a day. And also have a laugh.
Finally, what is helping you get through the weeks at home?
Getting out and about (this may be banned by the time this gets published!) and no coronavirus talk after 7pm.
I am taking this as an opportunity to detox (ask me again in a month) and going to bed early.