"Even the best managers underperform at some point."

"Don't panic."

"It's a buying opportunity."

The list of excuses went on and on. Easy for them to say, on the conference call from the West Coast. They won't be sitting in front of Asia's jumpiest institutional investor tomorrow, with only a PowerPoint of flimsy explanations and a 'product ambassador' on the line for protection. It isn't my job, and I didn't even sell them the stuff in the first place, but Jeff has conveniently arranged an urgent trip to Seoul. What's ever urgent in Korea anyway?

But maybe this is my chance to get that corner office -- convince the client to stay with us and perhaps the guys in the US will remember me. I did two years with them at HQ, before making a career-changing secondment to Asia... the fracas about that endowment has died down in the past six months, after the payment was made. I figured I'd take their offer of this posting for a couple of years, work my way to the top in Hong Kong and then return and show them what I was really made of. So tomorrow's meeting is important -- better go over my part of that PPT once more.


It could have gone worse, I guess. As usual, the teleconference into the meeting room failed so I had to step up and make the presentation myself. My joke about shorting AT&T went down well and my sincerity sure came across. I know I'll get some problems from Jeff when he hears about the 20bp fee reduction I gave them, but it should hold the client with us for the next year or two. They agreed so readily to that one, I wish I'd started by offering just 10bp.

Still, I saw their FD at lunch with that guy from Swiss Heritage last week and I sure ain't losing clients to those jokers. Steak dinner at Dakota with Julia whatsername from Howard Hanson, the new consultant in town. Again, they didn't give me my favourite seat by the window -- must get Colinna to be more assertive when booking.


Total overreaction, that's all I can say. We kept the client, which was my main aim. Jeff went on and on about how my bonus should be tied to revenues not just sales. Too late, buddy, we set those targets back in January, remember? Hope he can keep it under his hat though, we don't need Singapore finding out about that fee cut, not after last time...

Pretty quiet day in the office, beat my high score on Minesweeper ('expert' level), and managed to secure a lunch next week with one of the town's most influential investors. Need to work on how I can convince him to switch away from PrimeAlpha to invest with us instead -- perhaps our new Brazil equity strategy is the key. Our LatAm fund did over 40% last year and this new launch fund builds on that capability. Great time to get invested over there, what with the Olympics and World Cup on the horizon. There's a good reason the 'B' comes first in Bric, you know.


Jeff got very lucky in Korea, and was asked back for another meeting. I confronted him about this and showed him my business card: "William T Fitzgerald, VP -- Business Development, North Asia ex China, Taiwan & Macau".  Even he had to admit that Korea is my territory. Colinna has booked my ticket already, after his PA told her when the meeting is scheduled for. Business class, limo pick-up, executive floor at the hotel -- slightly over budget, but when I close the deal, it'll be OK with HQ. Jeff insisted on tagging along too, no doubt trying to steal some of my glory. Conference calls all night, so had to pass on drinks with Gavin from PrimeAlpha. No great loss.


It must be that time of the year again, when yours truly gets popular with the headhunting fraternity. I was surprised to hear that it was Jeff who had mentioned my name to Whitworths. The competition must be too much for him. Arranged a lunch early next month; it's always important not to appear too keen with these people.

Started working on the presentation for Korea, including a few slides on Brazil equity they'll really love. Their main focus, says Jeff, is EMD, so we have to cover that too, but I reckon I can steer them on to something more interesting. And I've got to sell $200 million of Brazil by year-end, to get myself noticed back in the US.

Lunch with James Jameson from Taylor's was a waste of time -- it was nearly 3.30pm when he told me he had resigned this week, and then left me with the bill. I expect he'll introduce me to his successor next week...

William T Fitzgerald is a fictional character, as are all the other individuals and companies in "RFP:  Diary of a Salesman". Any resemblance to the living or to real firms is purely coincidental. Bill's adventures continue fortnightly.