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Diary of an adviser: David Carter

David Carter


I have forgotten to have lunch so, after a visit to the Post Office, I go with Sam, our border collie, to a café next to the canal towpath. I order cappuccino and teacakes while Sam does a good impression of waiting patiently. But once on the towpath Sam bounds into unchained enthusiasm, sniffing, digging and then jumping into the canal for a cooling swim. I return to the office pondering Sam’s lesson on how to live, my nostrils filled with a gentle whiff of wet dog.


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A research morning is planned. I develop my own portfolios using Morningstar Adviser Workstation as my main research tool. I enjoy this work, but each time I wonder about my selection criteria. Active? Passive? Outperformance, risk or costs? Perhaps Friday’s seminar will throw some light on this.

In the afternoon Diane, my wife and partner in the business, brings me a couple of files to check through. Diane has the unenviable task of organising my paperwork. Despite my best efforts, I struggle with administration, but she is remarkably patient. After yet another late lunch, I see a couple of existing clients for their annual review.


A disadvantage of working from home in the country is snail-paced broadband access but, for me, the quiet stillness in which to work and the very fresh eggs for breakfast more than compensate. I steam through the emails and look forward to a visit from a fellow financial adviser. He is the kind of person I would want to be my adviser, if I were in some other occupation, and we enjoy working together.

In the afternoon I have a first meeting with a new, terminally ill, client. We discuss pensions and legacies. Although he is practical and appears accepting of his condition, I must take care to be sensitive; we are together for a couple of hours. I leave completely drained but happy that I might be able to help.

Tonight I go out for an Indian meal. Good decision.


Today starts with organising cash withdrawals for two sets of clients, and a few phone calls. Somehow the rest of the morning gets lost in a plethora of miniscule activities with little measurable progress, and time just vanishes. I get days like this.

Lunch is at a cliché-pretty pub where I meet two of my oldest and dearest clients. Combining business with pleasure, they reveal their plans to live abroad and I can feel their excitement. We arrange a home meeting to discuss details.


With no emails requiring actions I can relax a little this morning and take Sam out for a walk.

But I break an unbreakable rule, and work on this Friday afternoon. Well, I go to a seminar in Exeter. I have been looking forward to this: presentations on active, passive and mixed strategies, but my own thoughts do not really progress. Finally there is a talk by Tom Elliott, one of the few people I would even pay real money to see.