Tip from City's favourite analyst

BZW's Julia Blake beats 1,500 for top investment accolade

THE City's favourite analyst was educated at a polytechnic, spurned a job offer from Marks and Spencer, served a spell in industry . . . and is a woman.

Julia Blake, Barclays de Zoete Wedd's textiles analyst, beat 1,500 of her peers to win the top analyst slot in the Reuters ranking of investment analysts. Fewer than 10 per cent of stockbrokers' analysts are female.

Ms Blake, who earned her rag trade spurs as a protg of Next founder George Davies, pipped NatWest Securities' oil analyst Fergus MacLeod by one point.

Among the early calls that helped establish her reputation at BZW was bullish support for Courtaulds before its de-merger. More recently, investors who have followed her advice to buy Dewhurst in late 1992 will have seen their stake soar from 28p to £1.70. "This job's about spotting companies like Dewhurst that are going to become the big companies of the future," she said.

One fund manager who voted for her said it was the quality of her research and forecasts that made her tops. "Her calls have been very accurate," he said.

But the survey of 42 major fund managers has come under fire from critics, who say her victory was due to a statistical quirk. The more established 1994 Extel Survey ranked Mr MacLeod first and Ms Blake 19th. Ms Blake was at an advantage in the Reuters Survey because she faced less competition in her specific sector.

A farmer's daughter from Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Ms Blake, 32, was educated at Leicester Polytechnic, now De Montfort University, where she received a BSc honours degree in textile technology. Given the option of training for a year with M&S - considered as secure as a Civil Service posting - or with the innovative Leicester company Next, Ms Blake confounded her tutors by choosing the latter.

"Next was changing the face of the High Street," she said, adding that it was disappointing to report on Next when it ran into trouble a few years later.

A colleague who worked with her then said Ms Blake was popular and hard- working. "It was during a period of high growth and would have been good training for anyone."

While there she got first-hand experience working with cloth and clothing companies in the buying department and tried her hand at design, but she knew she wanted to understand the business side of textiles in more depth. On 1 October, 1986, the day of the Big Bang, she became a research assistant to David Buck at BZW.

Under Mr Buck's tutelage she started off doing statistical research, then became a junior analyst. Her background in the industry served her well. "It allowed me to access companies and talk sense to them and not look like a young whippersnapper. It gave me much more air time with companies."

Ms Blake said it was her colleague, Bruce Hobbard, who did most of the statistical work. "He's the train spotter on balance sheets, and I'm more of a management and production spotter."

While still following textiles, she is shifting more of her attention to speciality selling in the stores sector. "You don't want to get stale," she said. "The moment this job isn't a challenge it's time to get out."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker