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Working In Fixed Income

Published on: Sep 14, 2018

A day in the life of Jonathan Platt, ASIP

After working in asset management for nearly thirty years, I’m lucky in that I enjoy every aspect of the role.” Jonathan Platt, ASIP

What is your current role and what are your main responsibilities?

I am Head of Fixed Income at Royal London Asset Management (RLAM). There are four main aspects to the role. First, I manage a team of 28, alongside team heads responsible for our key areas of cash, government bonds, high yield, credit and research. Second, I manage a range of client portfolios – predominantly credit-based strategies, with aggregate bond funds as well. Third, I am responsible for team investment strategies. Also I work with senior colleagues outside the fixed income area to develop the wider business.

What do you most enjoy about this role?

After nearly 30 years in asset management I’m lucky in that I enjoy every aspect. The intellectual challenge, variety of the work, and the objective nature of success. Any role is influenced by those you interact with daily too, and I’m fortunate to work with hugely talented colleagues.

What are the most important skills for success in this role?

There are several. At a technical level an ability to analyse and price risk; taking in a range of factors and assessing their relative importance. At a broader level having a clear investment philosophy, to be prepared for medium or long-term investment horizons, have an ability to keep your nerve when markets move against you – with awareness to know when you are wrong or the strength of your convictions wane. It is also important to trust people and to delegate responsibilities. Leaders have to take responsibility, and not just when things go well. Ultimately the most important skill is building a team than can deliver what clients require.

How did you get to this position and what would you advise other CFA Charterholders who would like to do a similar role?

I studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at university; this was excellent training for a career in fund management. It encouraged absorption of information and for conclusions based on a wide variety of views.

However, I know colleagues who studied many different disciplines and some who went straight into finance from school, so there is no single ideal route. More relevant is an enquiring mind and an interest in markets.

As a CFA member I appreciate the importance of setting high standards within our industry. We encourage all investment personnel to study for their CFA and use CFA resources to monitor, record and encourage Continued Professional Development.

How has the role changed over the past ten years?

RLAM’s business has grown over the last ten years; I lead a larger team and we offer a broader range of investment strategies which now cover high yield, cash and short duration liability driven investment (LDI), Buy & Maintain credit, multi asset credit and absolute return. At a fund management level, now deal with a far wider range of entities; infrastructure, social housing, universities, emerging market companies as well as government and large corporates are funded through debt markets. I think team motivation has become more important too.

How do you see your role changing in the next ten years?

As recent events have shown, the best laid plans can quickly unravel. It’s important to keep an open mind. This said, I think my role will be substantially the same but with greater emphasis on team leadership, looking for new business opportunities and coping in a world of lower fees. I need to ensure that RLAM continues to offer differentiated products that appeal to investors who want an active manager to offer something other than a ‘me-too’ product.