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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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UK Share Ownership Structure – Not Fit for Purpose

The Editor of Investors Chronicle commented on the recently published BIS Paper on the structure of UK share ownership in this week's edition (see the last article on our blog for more background). He had this to say: "The Department [BIS] finally seems to be coming around to the view that it is, quite simply, not fit for purpose - a view we have held for some time and which I am regularly encouraged by readers to push further. So well ...

BIS Release Paper Showing the Mind-Boggling Complexity of the Intermediated Shareholding Model

PRESS RELEASE 72 19/1/2016 The Government BIS Department have released a Research Paper entitled "Exploring the Intermediated Shareholding Model". It shows in 160 odd pages the existing share registration models in the UK and the underlying systems that support shareholder rights (including voting). In essence it demonstrates perfectly the need for reform. It shows that private investors often do not know what rights they have in nominee accounts or indeed that there are alternative ways of holding shares. Even if they are aware ...

BIS Release Paper Showing the Mind-Boggling Complexity of the Intermediated Shareholding Model

The Government BIS Department have released a Research Paper entitled "Exploring the Intermediated Shareholding Model". It shows in 160 odd pages the existing share registration models in the UK and the underlying systems that support shareholder rights (including voting). In essence it demonstrates perfectly the need for reform. It shows that private investors often do not know what rights they have in nominee accounts or indeed that there are alternative ways of holding shares. Even if they are aware they should have ...

Broken Brokers and Nominee Accounts

There is a great letter from a reader in this weeks Investors Chronicle on the subject of nominee accounts. Under the title "Broken Brokers", Jonathan Crozier says he used to work for Pritchard Stockbrokers who are one the brokers that went bust covered in previous articles. He complains about the low level of compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (currently £50,000) which he says is a ludicrously low figure for Mr Average. But this is the paragraph that made the most ...

Home Retail Group Trading and Disposal

As a follow up to my blog post on the possible Sainsbury/Home Retail deal yesterday, here are some comments on the Home Retail Group trading statement issued this morning. Total sales at Argos increased 0.9%, but like-for-like sales were down 2.2% in the period as a result of reduced store footfall and growth in digital transactions. Homebase total sales were down 4% but like-for-like grew by 5% - this mix arises from an "aggressive store closure program". But the killer in their statement ...

More on Sainsbury (SBRY) and Home Retail Group (HOME)

Sainsbury published their Third Quarter Trading Statement this morning (13/1/2016) and they have also published a document arguing the merits of their possible bid for Home Retail Group under the title of "Accelerating our strategy for growth". Home Retail Group previously rejected an approach from Sainsbury on the basis that it undervalued the company. This note discusses the latest news as a follow up to my previous comments on this matter. Now I have previously declared an interest in this subject as ...

Stockbroker Transfers – More Evidence of Unreasonable Delays

Back in November I wrote about the delays that can occur in switching a portfolio of shares from one stockbroker to another. I now have a file of 7 examples contributed by different people where such transfers took several months. This is surely totally unreasonable and unnecessary. On behalf of ShareSoc and our members I have written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) complaining about this problem and have received a response which provides some more information at least. The FCA does have ...

The Importance of Having a Stock Selection Process

There is a good editorial in this month's edition of the Sharewatch newsletter. As was emphasised by our coverage of stock picking systems in the last ShareSoc newsletter, the key is to have some system, and some discipline, when selecting stocks. This is the time of year when the media are publishing their "naps" for the new year and when many investors are looking to refresh their portfolios by getting rid of last year's duds and picking new ones. This is ...

Sainsbury (SBRY) and Home Retail Group (HOME)

Sainsbury have announced today (5/1/2016) that they may be making an offer for Home Retail Group (the owners of Argos and Homebase) although their first approach in November was rejected. No doubt the publication of this information, and the advantages of such a merger, is intended to bring pressure on Home Retail to talk further. Now I have to declare an interest in this matter have recently purchased a few Sainsbury shares on the basis it looked the best value in a ...

Spotting the Duds

There was a good article in this weeks Investors Chronicle (31/12/2015) by ShareSoc Director Mark Lauber on how to weed out those small cap companies that will prove to be disappointing investments. Here's one quote from it: "If you don't mind throwing some babies out with the bathwater, just eliminate all resource stocks and all foreign stocks from your AIM portfolio - you'll protect yourself from a lot of losses with this simple step." He mentions one resource company he invested in that ...
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