This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

Learning about investing – thanks to ShareSoc

It is always interesting to look backwards as well as forwards as an investor and no better time than at the turn of the year.

First of all, I would like to say that most, if not all, I have learnt about investing in the stock market has resulted from my involvement with ShareSoc. I would like to express thanks to fellow ShareSoc Directors who have been very helpful but also what I have learnt from the ShareSoc Newsletter, ShareSoc Seminars and Masterclasses.

Previously I only rarely invested in the stock market before my involvement with ShareSoc and usually with poor results as I tended to invest in one share at a time and they were normally “story” stocks which collapsed! I have to say that 2019 was an excellent year for my share portfolio with Future being the best performer up 3 x but many other good performers such as Ideagen, Bioventix, SDI, Luceco, Kape, Advanced Medical Solutions & Creigtons to name a few.

I also held Bilby for some time which was a big loser but I thought I would read their Annual Report before bailing out; I was so impressed with what they were doing to turn the business around, curtail their loss-making business and fix a dysfunctional Board (founder syndrome) that I ended up buying more shares which did very well at the end of the year; they now have an excellent Chair and excellent CEO and I see them getting back to where they were.

Like all investors, I had a few disasters such as Crawshaw and Conviviality but overall, I ended the year 25% up. for which I have ShareSoc to thank. With what I have learnt I now focus on looking for small companies with good growth in revenues and profits, a positive cashflow, ideally paying a dividend (a good discipline) but most importantly for me growth prospects and a dynamic and diverse Board – SDI is a great example of an impressive Board whilst Patisserie Valerie was an example of an unimpressive, cosy Board with no diversity and lacking Independent Non-Execs which had been a large and excellent share for me until I started looking more closely at their Board and not liking what I saw I sold all a short time before they went bust – very lucky!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and successful 2020!

Chris Spencer-Phillips

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