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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.

There is more news given in the News page of our web site and more analysis of news is provided in our monthly newsletter for members – see the Newsletters page.

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Objections to Pay at Diploma and the Cost of Zero Carbon

My previous blog post covered the subject of criticism by Slater Investments of many current pay schemes. That at Diploma (DPLM) is a typical example. But at their Annual General Meeting yesterday, which I unfortunately was unable to attend in person as a shareholder, there was a revolt. The votes cast as disclosed in an RNS statement today were 20% against their new Remuneration Policy and 44% against their Remuneration Report. I voted against both of them of course personally. The board ...

Slater Investments Warns on Pay, and Flybe Bail-Out

Slater Investments has issued a warning to companies of their “dissatisfaction with the framework of directors’ remuneration in most public companies”. Slater Investments run a number of funds managed by Mark Slater and others with a focus on growth companies. The letter complains about a “relentless ratcheting of terms and conditions which have meant the interests of directors and investors have grown steadily further apart”. Specifically it complains about the award of nil-cost options which they see as a one-way bet and ...

New Year Share Tips – Are They Worth Following?

It’s that time of year when financial magazines and newsletters analyse their past share tip performance and give their New Year tips. Are the tips worth picking up or even reviewing? One approach you might think would be effective would be to simply back those publications who had the best historic performance. One review I picked up on Twitter (I am not sure of the original source) gives the Investors Chronicle (IC) as the winner in 2019 with a 37% return with ...

Directors’ and Fund Managers’ Pay is Excessive

On the latest data, the pay of FTSE-100 CEOs has fallen slightly. A report from the CIPD and High Pay Centre notes that the average pay has fallen from £3.9 million to £3.5 million for the year in 2018 (the latest for which figures are available). Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said “Today’s figures will be eye-watering for the vast majority of hard-working people across the UK. The numbers are better than they were….but the situation is still concerning, especially in those cases ...

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 ...

ShareSoc Launches EDGE Performance VCT Campaign

ShareSoc has launched a campaign to improve the performance of Edge Performance VCT Plc (consisting of H and I share classes) and reduce the fees charged by its investment manager, Edge Investments Limited. We are seeking shareholders to: collectively work together to persuade the incumbent directors to make various changes, vote to appoint new directors, vote against various resolutions at the upcoming General Meeting in February 2020. In addition, we seek to persuade Edge Performance VCT to agree a better deal with ...

End of year musings – VCTs

Should I continue to invest in VCTs, I ask myself. Hold, Buy or Sell? I was steered into these investments by my financial adviser, when I was busy working and never had the time to get to understand what I had bought until I retired. So, to start my decision process, I looked at returns. Northern VCT total returns are 3.6% gross (5.1% after 30% tax relief)  p.a. compound since 1995, 24 years ago when I invested. Baronsmead 3 total returns are 3.6% ...

Albion Capital Group LLP Partners’ 67% pay increase

Albion Capital Group LLP have recently disclosed their average pay per Partner for year end 31 March 2019 was £803,000, a whopping 67% increase on the previous year (£480,000). This shows what a wonderful business fund management can be, in particular managing VCTs. ShareSoc is currently running a campaign about the egregious investment manager fees at Albion Venture Capital (AAVC) (which is one of the funds managed by Albion Capital Group LLP). ShareSoc is seeking the directors to agree a better deal ...

Winning The Loser’s Game – It’s Like Tennis

It’s that time of year when we review our investment performance over the last year and some of us realise that it would have been lot better if it was not for the few disasters in our share holdings. For example, this is what well known investor and ShareSoc director David Stredder tweeted before Xmas: “End of 2018 and most of this year has been pretty awful investing wise for me...ACSO, CRAW, BUR, SOM, OPM & JLH were all top 15 ...

Brydon Audit Review and FRC Update

Readers probably don’t need to be reminded of the poor reputation of auditors and accountants. The announcement yesterday from Staffline Group (STAF) reiterates the point. They note the latest analysis indicates that 2018 profits were overstated by about £4 million. The CFO, Mike Watts, has left with immediate effect. Sir Donald Brydon has published his review of the audit market and makes recommendations for significant changes. This is what he says in a preface: “The quality and effectiveness of audit has become an ...
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