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BMO UK High Income Trust

Phil Webster manages BMO UK High Income Trust, and in this video we learn how his morning cycle routine clears his head before a day in fund management. Approved by BMO Global Asset Management.

Video transcript

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My bike riding is really part of my sort of field hockey that I did for the last sort of 15, 20 years, I think when you’ve been doing it every day is pretty difficult to turn off. My morning routine, it’s that sort of bit of fresh air and that break before I start my working day and it’s become part of my sort of weekend life.

I get up early in the morning. I’ve always been an early riser. I get out I do a cycle and I can get back before nine, 10 and see the family. I really started off playing golf as a kid before I played field hockey. A lot of my friends were playing. I sort of fell into a good school side and really developed pretty quickly into playing Scotland under 16, under 18, eventually to Scotland senior squad and ultimately GB and Olympic squads, which was really the goal that I was trying to achieve.

From that I really sort of fell into fund management. A lot of the sponsors were financial services companies. It was an area that I was always interested in and it really sort of rolled over and developed from my hockey career into my fund management career. The sporting and fund management parallels are pretty aligned, I would say.

When you think of a daily routine that you have, when you’re striving over a four year cycle to maybe win a gold medal, it’s about lots of little steps over that four years to get you to that point. The gold medal is the outcome, there are a lot of steps to getting to that Fund management is very similar. When you go to the office every day, you’re looking for all those little bits that you can do better. And those take time. And there’s always setbacks within that.

You know, we’re investing in markets. They’re not perfect. We will likewise in the sporting world, win games and lose games. There’s about learning from those experiences and moving those forward and think in fund management the two really are quite, quite aligned in terms of the outcome you produce. Each individual fund manager has their own way of thinking about stocks that they buy in a fund. I mean, you’re trying to do something that’s differentiated that’s interesting that engages with our clients and our customers.

Ultimately, my view is maybe a little bit different to others. You know, I believe in tech. I believe in disruption. I have a very concentrated portfolio of 28 or 29 companies, which is an awful lot lower than a number of my peers. I have very strong views on certain sectors. I don’t own telecoms. I don’t own utilities. So I think I built an interesting differentiated product that really is quite holistic in terms of providing a story and something interesting for our customers.

The team contribute in a pretty big way to managing the product. I mean, when you sit around a table when you have an idea with 10, 11 of your colleagues, you have 200 years of experience around the table. You have people that have different views, different thoughts or knowledge and understanding. And we sit down and we discuss the positive and negative, things I maybe haven’t thought about. And I think those are all massively important inputs into how I run the fund, how I pick stocks and how I think about it. And whilst that’s all good in fund management, you have to step back and it’s about individual responsibility.

After all, somebody has to take a decision from the fund and you have to have a strong view to invest in that product or that that company. So it’s really important that we have the whole team wisdom but there’s an individual there and you have to make decisions.