Brokers

Alliance Trust Savings Sold

Alliance Trust (ATST) has sold its Alliance Trust Savings (ATS) subsidiary to privately-owned company Interactive Investor. The ATS investment platform was always a peculiar business for a traditional investment trust to be holding. It was also consistently loss-making and reported an operating loss of £19.3 million in 2017 after a big write down of intangible assets. The directors valued the ATS business at £38.3 million in the 2017 accounts and Interactive Investor are paying £40 million for it but it looks ...

Patisserie Rescue Bid and Closing Accounts

It looks like Luke Johnson’s reputation will not be totally trashed after all after he announced a way for the company to be rescued today. It is proposed to do a placing at a heavily discounted share price of 50p (last price before suspension was 429p). This will raise £15 million from the issue of 30 million shares. The current shares in issue are 104 million so that implies substantial dilution although I have seen worse. It will take some time to ...

Time to open an account with AJ Bell?

Please note that ShareSoc does not recommend particular platforms, but aims to keep members aware of their relative merits. The Daily Mail reports  today https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/comment/article-6196807/JEFF-PRESTRIDGE-Investing-platform-sends-message-clear-Bell.html the good news that: "AJ Bell has decided that its customers should not be left out of the impending stock market party. Anyone who has an account with the platform when October 15 comes around will be eligible to apply for shares(minimum of £1,000). While AJ Bell is dwarfed by Hargreaves Lansdown – and probably always will be – the ...

Investment Platforms Market Study

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have just published an interim report on their study of “investment platforms”. It makes for very interesting reading. That is particularly so after the revelations from Hardman last week. They reported that the revenue per assets held on the platform from Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) was more than twice that of soon to be listed AJ Bell Youinvest. HL is the gorilla in the direct to consumer platform market with about 40% market share. HL earns £473 ...

Protecting Yourself Against Administrations

Investors now know that when your stockbroker goes into administration, your assets are not secure (or “ring fenced” as your contract with them often says) because they can be seized under the Special Administration Regulations by the administrator to pay their costs. This has become clear from the Beaufort case. That means many investors are facing losses because Beaufort client accounts, like most stockbroking accounts now, were nominee accounts with the shares registered in the name of Beaufort. There are two possible ...

Beaufort Administration, Intercede and the Mello Conference

Yesterday I attended the first day of the 2-day Mello investor conference in Derby. There were lots of good presentations and some interesting companies to talk to. One hot topic of conversation was the collapse of Beaufort which was forced into administration (see two previous blog posts on the topic for details). There are apparently many people affected by it. There are a number of major issues that have arisen here: The administrators (PWC) have suggested it might cost as much as ...

Which Is The Cheapest Platform?

Many investors do not research which trading platforms (a.k.a. on-line stockbrokers) are the cheapest before they sign up with them. Neither do all platforms offer the same facilities – for example all the different types of ISAs and allow investment in both funds and investment companies or direct shares. Retail investors tend to depend on which name they remember from advertising, from friends’ recommendations and other sources. But now the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has provided a useful comparison tool. The ...

ShareSoc will Demand Action from the FCA over Account Switching Delays

Earlier this month I read this Times article concerning disgruntled clients of Barclays' Smart Investor platform. It highlights once again the longstanding issue that changing your provider of share trading services (stockbroker or platform) is often a painful process. It is not unusual for the switch to take several months, during which you may not be able to sell shares that you own or access funds held in your account. I find this unacceptable in the 21st century, when modern IT systems ought ...

Hargreaves Lansdown and Fund Charges

Phil Oakley of Sharescope wrote a good piece on Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) in his weekly roundup published on 16th February. Why are they so profitable a business when, as Terry Smith said, they seem to be in essence a “distributor” operating in a highly competitive field with few barriers to entry? The answer, apart from their high-quality customer service, is the level of charges they make on investment in funds (unit trusts and OEICS, not investment trusts which are treated as ...