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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.

If you click on any blog post, you will find an option to subscribe to the blog. Subscribing means that you will be automatically emailed, once a day, whenever any new posts are made to the blog. You can also follow us on Twitter to see tweets whenever new posts are made.


AIM Rules Review

The London Stock Exchange have published a document entitled “AIM Rules Review”. ShareSoc, including me personally, have criticised the LSE in the past for poor regulation of the AIM market. Many investors view it as a casino because of the numerous problems of fraud, poor disclosures, many delistings or simple bankruptcies in AIM companies. See the ShareSoc campaign page here for more information: https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/campaign-improve-aim-market/ As you can see we made a number of recommendations on how to improve the AIM market, and ...

TD Direct & the FCA – Update

There have been further developments since my original blog post, on the topic of changes to TD Direct's client monies policy, which cause me to re-examine the issue and its implications.Firstly, I am pleased that Interactive Investor, TD Direct's new owner, have responded to my post, as follows: Interactive Investor’s primary responsibility is the security of a client’s data, cash and assets. Current FCA rules state that client money must not be placed out on unbreakable deposits of more than 30 days. ...

Help Improve Annual Reports

As the leading organisation representing individual investors, ShareSoc is called upon by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), to assist with their research on investor requirements. The FRC is the official body tasked with supervising the accounting profession in the UK, setting accounting standards and codes of practice for corporate governance.Their Financial Reporting Lab has asked for our help in obtaining feedback from our members in its project to research the usefulness of the current "principal risk and viability disclosures" in the ...

National Grid and Electric Cars

National Grid (NG.) have published a paper entitled “Future Energy Scenarios” which spells out the impact of future trends in energy consumption, and by implication how it might affect their business. For example, the forecast demand for electric cars might add 30% to peak electric power demand, thus requiring the equivalent of five Hinkley Point C nuclear plants. Even if people only charge their electric cars in off-peak periods, the additional demand could be very substantial.If you live in London, you ...

Performance Fees – Don’t You Just Hate Them?

I mentioned in a previous blog post the result of a performance incentive fee for the manager at British Smaller Companies VCT (BSV) which resulted in total fees of 6.9% of net assets last year. Another similar example is that of Proven VCT (PVN) who managed to do even better at 8.8% of assets for the same reason.This problem of excessive and perverse performance fees has recently been covered in the FCA’s “Asset Management Market Study” and in a very good ...

Our Risk, Their Gain: TD Direct & the FCA

Thursday last, I was somewhat shocked to receive the following missive from one of my brokers, TD Direct (now owned by Interactive Investor):The key paragraph is this: To ensure we maintain our ability to appropriately diversify client money across highly rated, strongly capitalised banks, our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has given us, and other similar firms, permission to deposit some of our client monies in fixed term deposits for up to 95 days. This is a change to the current ...

Guide to ShareSoc’s new Events Page

As part of the redevelopment of ShareSoc's website, we have enhanced our directory of events. Our aim is that it should be the "go to" place for investors in the UK wishing to find out about interesting events relating to investment.We therefore list not only our own events, but any worthwhile investment related events from 3rd parties (subject to our editorial control). If you know of any upcoming event which we have not listed, please let us know.The main body of ...

Grenfell: Lessons for the Investment Community

 The Grenfell Tower disaster shocked and saddened the whole of the UK. It leaves questions about how such a tragic series of failings, which led to the disaster, were allowed to happen. It is to be hoped that the forthcoming public enquiry will shed some light on this.A recent article in the Financial Times, however, may offer some clues. And I believe that some of the failings have parallels that the financial services industry could learn from.The article reports that building ...

Enormous Management Fees at British Smaller Companies VCT

British Smaller Companies VCT (BSV) has been one of the more successful Venture Capital Trusts in terms of fund performance – it is managed by YFM. The NAV Total Return has been 106.9 over the last ten years according to the AIC (i.e. investors have doubled their money), beating the sector performance for generalist VCTs of only 64. With high, tax-free dividends being paid, investors have probably been happy.But back in 2009 the managers performance incentive fee was changed to be ...

Levelling the Playing Field

One of ShareSoc's objects is "to ensure equal treatment for all shareholders". We are therefore rather disappointed when, as happens all too frequently, companies issue announcements like the one from Crest Nicholson today: http://www.investegate.co.uk/crest-nicholson-hdgs--crst-/rns/analyst---investor-day/201706270700022028J/The announcement was issued at 7am this morning and announces an event for analysts and investors taking place on the same day. It is clear that this event is not open to ordinary individual shareholders. Selected analysts and favoured institutional shareholders will undoubtedly have been invited well in advance. ...
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