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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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FRC Slides 3 Dec 2018, How to Complain and Appeal for Volunteers

I have received this feedback from the FRC "Thank you very much for rounding up a great audience on Monday, we are very pleased with how the event went. Please find attached the slides and feel free to circulate them to attendees." So, here are the slides. Lifting the Lid Event Slides - 3 December 2018 The FRC stressed they want to hear our complaints about companies and auditors. If you have a complaint then send it to the FRC complaints email oversight@frc.org.uk. If you wish to ...

Banks Claims Group Limited, FCA and RBS

Neil Mitchell, who ran Torex Retail before he blew the whistle on an earlier fraud at the software company and RBS’s Global Restructuring Group took control of the business, has applied for a judicial review of a UK Financial Conduct Authority decision in July that its options for taking action were “limited”. Neil, who claims to represent 530 complainants affected by alleged wrongdoing at GRG, alleges in his judicial review application that the FCA has been “unlawfully refusing or failing” to ...

Bellway AGM for Early Risers Only

Should Annual General Meetings of companies be held at reasonably convenient locations and on convenient dates and times so that as many shareholders as possible can attend? Most private shareholders certainly think so. But Bellway (BWY) seem to be taking the opposite approach. Their 2016 AGM was at the very sensible and easily achievable time of 2pm in the afternoon so all shareholders hoping to attend could actually meet the directors and ask questions. They could travel from all over the country ...

Autonomy, FRC Meeting, Retailers and Brexit Legal Advice

The big news last Friday (30/11/2018) was that former CEO Mike Lynch has been charged with fraud in the USA over the accounts of Autonomy. That company was purchased by Hewlett Packard who promptly proceeded to write off most of the cost – see this blog post for more information: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/regulations-and-law/belated-action-by-frc-re-autonomy/. As this was a UK company, are we anywhere nearer a hearing in the UK over the alleged “creative accounting” that took place at the company and the failure of the ...

FRC Investor Event on 3rd December 2018

This was a very well attended, very successful event held at the FRC office at 125 London Wall. An attentive audience of over 70 UKSA and ShareSoc members listened to senior members of the FRC team: Tracy Vegro (below), Jen Sisson, Carol Page, Andrew Meek, James Ferris, David Johnson, Claudia Mortimer, Catherine Horton, Marian Williams, Phil Fitzgerald and Deepa Raval. The FRC and the audit profession are being pilloried and heavily criticised. So, this was a chance for the FRC to explain what ...

EMIS Investor Event

On Thursday (29/11/2018) I attended the EMIS Group (EMIS) Capital Markets Day at the London Stock Exchange. Having held shares in the company since 2011, this was a great opportunity to get an update on the situation of the company and its future plans. First some background. EMIS is best known as the provider of software that general practitioners use – EMIS Web (primary care). That has more than 50% of the UK GP market. But the company also has many other ...

PWC and the future of audit

We have been contacted by PWC about the future of audit. The letter below from Hilary Eastman at PWC to Peter Parry explains the background.  Please do access the on-line platform and send comments in. There are only a handful of questions and it is quick to do. www.pwc.co.uk/futureofaudit   More importantly, you will see that PWC is organising a number of engagement events around the country. Please send your name to the ShareSoc office info@sharesoc.org  if you would like to attend one of these ...

AJ Bell and FinnCap IPOs

Here are some comments on the IPOs of AJ Bell and FinnCap which are open to private investors ̶ the former to any of their clients who wish to put in £1,000 or more. The latter can be purchased from the PrimaryBid platform. Bearing in mind that I have previously said that you should never invest in IPOs (see my comment on Aston Martin which was certainly right as the shares are now down over 20% since IPO here: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/company-news/the-market-dunedin-and-standard-life-smaller-companies-merger-and-aston-martin-ipo/ ), these ...

British Smaller Companies VCT Offer

It’s that time of year when share subscription offers for Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) tend to be launched. One of the first is that for the British Smaller Companies VCT (BSV). This one that has shown a relatively good performance for a generalist VCT – share price total return of 225 over ten years according to the AIC compared with a sector performance of 136. It also has a high dividend yield and a narrow discount to NAV. However I have ...

Buy Backs Bad – and done at wrong time!

The following article reports on a JP Morgan prediction for this year of over $800 billion in stock buybacks. According to this article in CFO.com, S&P 500 firms repurchased $166.3 billion worth of...

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