Collective Investments

Mello Trust and Funds Event and ShareSoc AGM

I managed to attend part of the Mello Trust and Funds Event in West London yesterday and although I had other commitments today, I may manage to attend the second day of the main Mello 2019 event tomorrow. If you have not attended one of these events before, it is definitely worth doing so. The only slight criticism I would have is that getting to Chiswick from South East London where I live via the slow District Line is not great. ...

Closet Indexing

I am returning to the subject of closet indexing, which is the name given to asset managers who claim to be active managers and charge active fees, but make their investments so that they are unlikely to underperform the index or outperform it. We have made the point to the FCA in a consultation response about the problems with closet trackers. It is good to see the FT giving the issue high profile coverage. The FT published an article on 8 May ...

Will Neil Woodford Succeed?

How long do you give a fund manager before giving up on poor performance? This is the key question faced by investors in the funds run by Neil Woodford and his Woodford Investment Management company. Neil Woodford had a very successful record at Invesco – their High Income fund turned £10,000 into £230,000 over 25 years. In 2014 he departed to set up his own investment company and he attracted many followers to the new platform but the record since then has ...

Stewardship Should Reflect Views of Beneficial Owners

We, ShareSoc, think that individual investors have been disenfranchised by the nominee system and by the difficulties in getting timely copies of Annual Reports, AGM notices and voting forms. It is estimated only 6% of individual investors shares get voted, which is a disgrace. What is needed is a neat, easy to use system that makes it ultra quick and easy to vote your shares. Individuals who invest in funds have little or no control over how the shares in their funds ...

Bogle Death, Patisserie and Diploma AGM

The death of John Bogle has been announced at the age of 89. He wrote several very informative books on investment and was the founder of Vanguard which has grown into one of the largest mutual fund managers by promoting index fund management. He also promoted the idea that the investors should own the fund manager. He suffered from heart attacks from a young age, the first at age 31, and actually had a heart transplant in 1990. So in some ...

Market Bouncing Up or Down – Sophos, Greggs, Apple and Fundsmith

After a dire market performance before Xmas, we seem to be back to the good times in the last 3 days. Is it time to get back into the market for those who moved into cash as the market fell down and down and down in the autumn? Rather early to generalise I suggest although I have been picking up some shares recently. One which I purchased a small holding in was Softcat (SCT). Yesterday it issued a trading update simply saying ...

FCA investigations of hidden fees.

34 fund managers are being investigated for ‘hiding’ their fees according to a story in the Sunday Times on 7 October, see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/34-fund-managers-investigated-for-hiding-their-fees-l6kjwqhrz  An investigation has been launched into 34 pension and investment companies for failing to meet new rules that force them to disclose the true cost of their funds. This is the first time the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has taken action against firms for not adopting rules intended to make it easier for savers to assess and ...

Should I Buy Smithson Investment Trust?

I am a great fan of Terry Smith and his investment approach. As an investor in his Fundsmith Equity Fund, I have seen annual returns of 21.7% according to ShareScope since I first purchased it in 2014. That fund is a global large cap fund. Terry has now launched a small and mid-cap investment trust based on similar investment principles which is called the Smithson Investment Trust. Subscriptions are being invited here: https://www.smithson.co.uk/  The Fundsmith Equity Fund is an open-ended fund whereas ...

RBS Sale and Blackrock Smaller Companies AGM

The Government is selling off another tranche of its holding in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). By selling another 8% it will reduce its holding to 62% of the company. The Government (or “taxpayers” as some described them) will face a loss of about £2 billion on what it originally paid for the shares. There were howls of protest from some politicians. John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, said “There is no economic justification for this sell-off of RBS shares. There should ...

Should Trust Managers Attempt to Unseat the Board in a Dispute over Fees?

Investment trust directors should be independent of the manager. But sometimes the latter appear to think otherwise. Such is the case at Invesco Perpetual Enhanced Income Ltd (IPE), an investment company that invests in high yield bonds and other assets. It is managed by Invesco Perpetual. The latter have resigned as fund manager after a dispute over fees it is alleged. They have now also requisitioned a general meeting of the company to remove the trust’s Chairman, Donald Adamson, and director ...