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ShareSoc Blog

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.

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Regulating Consumer Investments and Company Register Reform

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have launched a consultation on the Consumer Investment Market. They consider it a priority to reduce the harm that many consumers suffer from fraud in this sector. The FCA has this to say: “We have made significant improvements to this market to protect consumers. But there are over 5,000 financial adviser firms and more than 27,000 individual advisers acting as intermediaries between the consumer and their investment. Dominated by small firms, these complex chains of interdependent products ...

LeaderBHP Shows the Way With Covid-constrained AGMs

Like other companies, BHP will not be admitting shareholders to its AGM, due to current Covid-19 restrictions. Unlike many others, however, it is doing the next best thing and holding an online "shareholder forum" on 23rd September ahead of the proxy voting deadline of 13th October, for registered shareholders voting online. If, like most individual shareholders, your shares are held in a nominee account, you should check with your broker/platform what the deadline is for submitting votes through them. This meeting will enable ...

Record Fine on Deloitte, But It’s Not Enough       

The Financial Report Council (FRC) has fined accounting firm Deloitte £20.6 million (including costs) for its defective auditing of Autonomy. Deloitte is the largest of the big four audit firms and this is what the head of the firm said when talking about their 2019 results: “Our FY 2019 results are a validation of Deloitte’s strategy to deliver high-quality, globally consistent service to our clients while continuing to serve the public interest and working to restore trust in capital markets”. Revenue of ...

Delistings: Take the Money and Run

by Paul de Gruchy, Director, ShareSoc One of the aspects of investing that is rarely discussed, and yet often provokes ShareSoc members to approach us for help and advice, is what happens when a company is delisted. The LSE is a public company, and so is keen to increase revenues by listing as many companies as possible. But all too frequently companies list, raise money, and then for whatever reason, delist from the market. Shareholders are left with shares in a private company ...

The Advantages of Investment Trusts

The AIC has issued a video which spells out some of the advantages of investment trusts over open-ended funds. They spell out that with most investment products you don’t have a say, but with investment trusts you do because you can vote on important decisions about how your company is run and what it invests in. You can also attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to meet, and question, the board directors and the investment manager. Investment companies also have independent ...

Pre-Emption Group (PEG) extends the easing of its issuance guidelines

Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc gives his personal views below which may not necessarily reflect ShareSoc's view. UK-listed companies hit by Covid-19 are being given an additional lifeline as the Pre-Emption Group (PEG) extends the easing of its issuance guidelines, allowing more share capital to be raised from shareholders. The PEG, the affiliate of the Financial Reporting Council that provides guidance on fundraisings and rights issues, has confirmed that the additional flexibilities put in place at the height of the pandemic will be extended ...

Laggard Hugely Disappointing That ImmuPharma Excludes Individuals From Placing

I have been an investor, supporter and follower of ImmuPharma. So I was appalled to read that ImmuPharma (LSE:IMM) has raised £6.5 million, before expenses, via an oversubscribed placing of 59,090,909 new ordinary shares at a price of 11p per share. There was no Primary Bid offer and no notification to investors who hold their shares via nominee of this placing nor any invitation for them to share in the spoils. The placing was at 11p and the share price this morning ...

Modernisation of Stamp Duty

HMRC have announced a “Call for Evidence” on the “Modernisation of Stamp Taxes on Shares Framework”. If you deal mainly in the shares of public companies you may not know much about this subject – I certainly don’t. But the consultation document is very enlightening – see link below. That’s if you can understand it because this tax seems to be like capital gains tax – horribly complicated as it has been built up over many years and with a large ...

SVS Special Administration: a Scandal in the Making

I have written previously about the collapse of brokerage SVS Securities, here: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/insolvency-and-administration/an-update-on-svs-securities/ and here: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/brokers/another-update-on-the-svs-special-administration/ Since my last post on this topic, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has the transfer of assets from SVS to a new broker taken an inordinate amount of time, but the choice of broker to receive those assets seems questionable, to say the least. This debacle has been covered by press articles, here: https://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/svs-client-fury-as-new-broker-fails-to-return-278m/a1390644 and here: https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2020/08/14/svs-clients-plagued-by-delays-at-new-broker/ More recently, ShareSoc has been contacted ...

Lessons From a Failed Investment

This is a premium article, available to ShareSoc full members and SIGnet members. Recent troubles at the AA (AA.) and Petropavlovsk (POG) brought to mind another problematic investment that I am more familiar with and which shares some characteristics of those companies. That investment is Gulf Marine Services (GMS). IPOs by Private Equity Vendors Like the AA, GMS was floated by its original private equity owners, with a premium listing on the LSE main market, in March 2014. GMS is a relatively straightforward business: ...
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