General News

Employee Directors at Sports Direct

It seems that controversial company Sports Direct (SPD) are likely to become the first UK public company to have a worker on their board. They plan to appoint an elected "Worker's Representative" who will attend and speak at board meetings although they would not formally be appointed as a director. A spokesman for Sports Direct said: "Having explored all options we believe this is the best way to ensure the Workers' Representative is free to champion the interests of all staff. ...

Government Action on Dormant Accounts

The Government has today reported that as much as £2 billion is sitting idle in dormant accounts such as share trading accounts, ISAs, pensions and insurance products. That includes £715 million alone in investment and wealth management accounts. This is noted by the Independent Dormant Assets Commission set up by the Government which has looked at whether the existing scheme for dormant bank and building society accounts should be extended. Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, suggests that this money could help ...

AIC Press Release on VCTs

To follow on from my last blog post, another interesting press release from the AIC today was that on the performance of Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). That's particularly so when everyone is considering their tax bills at this time of year, i.e. those just paid and how they can avoid such big ones for the current year and next. VCTs do of course offer upfront income tax relief when investing in new shares, and also tax free dividends thereafter. Many have been ...

AIC Response to Green Paper

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) have published their response to the Government's Green Paper on Corporate Governance. One recommendation contained therein is that "The AIC also recommends that a detailed study to assess retail investors’ access to voting services on platforms and other nominee account services is undertaken to identify any necessary reforms". This is of course a very positive endorsement of an issue that ShareSoc has been campaigning upon for some time - see our campaign page here: Shareholder ...

The Future Value of Money

The future value of money was a question highlighted by a Government decision yesterday. The discount rate to be applied to awards to road accident victims and others, to ensure they always have enough to support their future needs, is to be changed to -0.75% (that's minus 0.75%). Previously, and for many years, it has been assumed that they could invest a cash lump sum at a rate of plus 2.5%. That was on the assumption that they could invest in ...

Asset Management Market Study

I commented previously on the FCA's Asset Management Market Study, which suggested there was weak competition in this market. Needless to say, most asset managers do not seem to agree. ShareSoc has now submitted a response to the questions raised in that document which you can read here: Asset-Management-Market-Study-Response-2017-02-21. In summary, we agree with the general conclusions and support regulatory intervention where necessary. We also note that although the study does not address the issue directly of financial education, it is our view ...

FCA Reviews Open Ended Funds with Illiquid Assets

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is reviewing open ended funds that invest in such illiquid assets as property and infrastructure. It also potentially affects investments in private equity, unlisted securities and special purpose vehicles. If you recall, only a few months ago a number of property funds had to close to redemptions, i.e. investors could not get their money back, simply because of a minor panic over the impact of the Brexit Referendum vote. Although such funds do keep a cash ...

Brexit, Industrial Strategy and Productivity

What next now that we are committed to Brexit? Well first we need an "industrial strategy" to help us develop a new place in the world and possibly to pay for the up to £60 billion that might be demanded by the EU (as settlement for outstanding commitments if you believe that - yes divorce can be expensive). Now it just so happens that the Government has just published a Green Paper entitled "Building our Industrial Strategy" on that topic which ...

RBS Rejects Democracy

ShareSoc has today issued the following press release: The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has rejected a requisition to implement a Shareholder Committee. ShareSoc will not permit this unreasonable...