Quick questions: BlackRock’s Mike Prentis

Since graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1979, Mike Prentis began his career as a trainee accountant in London. Now a well-established fund manager at Blackrock, he took some time out to discuss his love for finance and cricket.

What was your first job in financial services?

After university I joined Peat Marwick Mitchell in London as a trainee accountant. Perhaps more significantly I joined 3i as an investment controller in 1986 with the brief to invest in unquoted companies.

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What drew you to the profession?

I think I always had an interest in investment but I do remember conversations with the father of my best man who had been a senior partner at stockbrokers Rowe & Pitman; he had clearly enjoyed a really interesting and well remunerated career.

What is the most important thing an adviser can do for a client?

Ensure that the client has a well balanced portfolio of investments, including cash, and understands the risks of any particular investment as well as the potential rewards.

What is the most important decision you have ever made?

Apart from marrying my wife Liz, the decision first to join 3i and then 13 years later to work with John Davies in the quoted fund management business at 3i; clearly joining Richard Plackett and colleagues at BlackRock in 2005 was also crucial.

How do you think the industry has changed since you started working in it?

As far as the UK smaller companies sector is concerned, I think there has been less really high quality, sensibly priced IPOs, which is a shame. It is important that the market is refreshed in this way.

Other than property, what is the most expensive thing you have bought?

A few years ago I bought a second hand Porsche, which now seems to spend a lot of its time in a station carpark; a waste really.

What is your perfect day off?

On a warm, sunny summer’s day I love to watch the test match at Lord’s, preferably from the press box end of the Upper Compton stand and with my wife or good friends from the investment world.

What would you tell your 10-year-old self?

Be positive and give it your best shot; my 20-year-old son always cringes when I tell him to be positive.

Who would you recommend as a must-follow person on Twitter?

I can’t say I follow anyone on Twitter, but if I did it would probably be connected with English test cricket, maybe Jonathan Agnew, David Gower or Jimmy Anderson.

What do you have set as your homepage in your internet browser?

At work I have the BlackRock intranet site.