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The asset allocator diary: James Sullivan

A week in the life of James Sullivan, head of Tyndall Partnerships, week commencing 15 April

James Sullivan


PA Adviser takes a walk in the life of James Sullivan, head of Tyndall Partnerships, who diarises his week at work.


05:15 alarm call for a 06:00 gym session before work; a great way to start the week.

Although our profession is not necessarily a physically demanding one, I find it hard to believe one can deliver optimum performance if fitness and wellbeing is not maintained. It’s not always easy to find the time, but a supportive employer makes the world of difference.  

At my desk at 08:00 to tidy up some tasks that drifted in over the weekend, before my 09:00 Monday morning meeting with our CEO, Alex Odd, to survey the lay of the land.

This is shortly followed by a scheduled 09:30 Tyndall Partnerships meeting to ensure there is cohesion within the team, and everyone has the support they need to get their jobs done over the week ahead. It’s a nice opportunity to ensure that we remain a team, rather than a collection of individuals.

Next is the 11:00 internal investment committee (held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Attendance is not mandatory but is expected if availability permits. Often attended by the 25 or so investment professionals at Tyndall, there is always something brought to the table; a meaningful trading statement, an inflation print or an IPO that may have gone unnoticed.  

After a light lunch I’m in the car and heading to an IFA firm to support their investment committee; no surprise to learn that inflation, rates and the magnificent seven dominate the discussion. It’s a busy week for investment committee meetings which are held on a quarterly basis with clients. We believe that it’s essential to conduct these in person as an important role of forging and maintaining a partnership is being physically present.


Another reasonably early start, 05:00, albeit for a very different reason to Monday; to catch the first flight to Newcastle to host an 11:00 investment committee for a client.

Without doubt, the best parts of my working week are the in-person meetings with clients. I always try to ensure I find the right balance between the desk and visiting clients, and I am fortunate that the travel and subsequent client engagement is something that I love.

Then it’s a short walk to another Newcastle-based firm around the corner for an update on markets over lunch, before heading back to the airport, and back to Heathrow.

The flight is barely an hour, and I spend it listening to The Rest Is Politics podcast with Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell. It’s a good episode that covers the Tories in danger of being overtaken by Reform UK, a deep dive on Modi and India, as well as an interview with the chief minister of Gibraltar.


Up and out early for a full day. Three more investment committees to host on behalf of IFA clients; Birmingham at 09:00, Leicester at 12:30 and Market Harborough at 15:00.

I am forever appreciative of the support of our clients, placing their trust in Tyndall to be the stewards of their clients’ wealth. The only monotony is the sound of my own voice, which my colleague, Lawrence Patrick, who often travels with me, will testify to.

After Market Harborough it’s a rush hour drive East on the A43 to Peterborough for a stopover. A modest hotel with a gym and swimming pool to keep me entertained. After the gym, it’s back to the room for a bedtime facetime with my son, Noah, before addressing the inevitable deluge of emails that have arrived throughout the day.


A more respectable 07:00 start, and a short drive up the very scenic A16 to Spalding to host the final investment committee of the week.

As with the previous meetings this week, we try and pick the bones out of the current market mood, and how we are positioned accordingly. Our tactical tilts are typically underpinned by a ‘valuation matters’ principle, which leads us to be modestly overweight Rest of the World versus the US.

After the two-hour meeting, a drive back into London to check in with the team and debrief on what has been a very productive and satisfying week. All subsequent action points are assigned and client CPD certificates dispatched.


For what has become something of an annual tradition, I have taken a day of leave to attend the Somerset versus Nottingham cricket match with two friends, both of whom are former colleagues of mine. It’s a great opportunity to catch up, chat markets and industry gossip in a very relaxed environment, and share a drink.  


As with most Saturdays, it’s off to David Lloyd with my son for his tennis lesson. I use this time to go to the gym, blowing off the travel from the week.

We stay at the club for lunch, before going back on court for the ‘parent and son/daughter’ tennis competition. It is very relaxed and good natured but, as it happens on this occasion, we won. Noah was very happy with his trophy that was almost as big as him and took it to school on Monday for ‘show and tell’. After some consideration, I decided not to do the same with work on Tuesday.

Sunday morning also follows something of a routine; a decent walk along the coast with our three-year-old fox red Labrador before stopping off at the usual beach front café for a flat white and some ‘doggy sausage’. There is no doubt that the ‘hound pound’ is a real thing.

Before I do it all again tomorrow, the weekend concludes with an evening game of veterans’ football, which is always far more competitive than it needs to be, but is a great way to finish the week.

See also: The asset allocator diary: Yoram Lustig

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