There are those for whom the fund management industry is a natural calling, and others who know little to nothing about it but find themselves drawn inexplicably to the job.
Between them, John Pattullo and Jenna Barnard, fixed income managers at Henderson Global Investors, can lay claim to both these routes into the industry.
Mr Pattullo trod the traditional path: economics at school and university, followed by a qualification in accountancy. He was inspired by his father, who had established a career in finance.
“I always wanted to be a fund manager. I used to want to be an equity manager ultimately, to be honest. But some good advice said bonds are inefficient and under-researched and were going to grow very large, especially with the euro – this was way back in 1997,” he explains. “It was a conventional route in, but I guess I grew up with Thatcher and privatisation, so I always quite enjoyed stockmarkets and investing. I like the daily change you get in bond markets.”
Ms Barnard’s route into the industry was more accidental, even if her degree in philosophy, politics and economics suggests otherwise.
“I had an interest in economics, but at university I was adamant I didn’t want to work in the City. I had an image of it that I didn’t find very attractive,” she admits. “I took a year off to earn some money, because I thought I was going to go to the States and do a master’s degree in politics. In that time off, I needed to earn some money so, naturally, recruitment consultants would put me up for City jobs because of my economics background.
“Once I started, I loved it and didn’t look back. I dropped the idea of studying the next year and just carried on.”
Her preference for bonds took root in 2001 when she was working as a trainee equity analyst. She harks back to that year when an equity bear market started and she began to think bonds was an “interesting growth area”.
The partnership between Mr Pattullo and Ms Barnard formed shortly after she joined Henderson in 2002 as credit analyst, assistant portfolio manager. He had been at the company since joining as a trainee manager on corporate bonds in 1997, although he had risen to the rank of associate director of corporate bonds by 2002.
It was about a year before the pair began working together closely. They took over the running of the Henderson Preference & Bond fund after the retirement of the former manager and followed this with a launch of their own.
Mr Pattullo explains: “It was a high-yield fund, but we relaunched it as a strategic bond fund. It was the first new concept we launched together.”
As with any good working partnership, the managers have “occasional disagreements”, but they insist there has only been a “handful” of “intense” disagreements in the past 10 years.