Blog

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.

If you would like to be notified about new posts to our blog you can opt-in to our Weekly Wrap-Up Email service. If you are a member of ShareSoc select the “Weekly Wrap-Up Email” option here. If you are not a member select the “Information and Education Services” option here.


ShareSoc Deplores Withdrawal of Personal Crest Membership by Brokers

ShareSoc has issued the following Press Release: Following the takeover of Stocktrade by Alliance Trust Savings (ATS), the latter have decided to withdraw support for Personal Crest Membership from their clients. Clients will either have to transfer into the ATS nominee service, turn their holdings into paper share certificates (a truly archaic form nowadays which are soon to be outlawed by an EU Directive), move to another broker or liquidate their holdings. This continues a recent trend for stockbrokers to terminate the ...

Telecom Plus and Camkids – Creative Accounting and Pay Issues

Telecom Plus (TEP) held their AGM yesterday (12/8/2015). The company provides a complete range of utility services - gas, electricity, broadband, fixed line and mobile phones via a "club" concept promoted by a network of self-employed (mainly part-time) distributors. They offer competitive pricing and an efficient operation (I am one of their customers as well as being a shareholder). The share price of this company has gone from near 800p up to well over 1800p and back down to below 800p ...

ShareSoc Gives Voting Recommendations for Rensburg AIM VCT Annual General Meeting

PRESS RELEASE 67 4/8/2015 ShareSoc has been running a campaign on Rensburg AIM VCT since 2011. Our initial concerns were the investment performance and policy, but more recently the Directors proposed to wind-up the company. ShareSoc opposed that on the grounds that many investors, some of whom originally would have claimed capital gains roll-over relief, would be disadvantaged by such a move. Although the position of investors is affected by their personal circumstances and tax position, it seemed possible to us to ...

Undisclosed Fees and AGMs

It's interesting what you can learn at Annual General Meetings, or from ShareSoc reports on them, even if you don't attend in person. One of the recent news items in the financial press was about the disclosure of what private equity fund managers have received in "carried interest". It transpired that two very large US pension funds, Calpers and Calstrs, had no idea how much their fund managers had earned in this way over many years on top of their normal fees. ...

Goodwin still on the hook for RBS debacle

The Herald newspaper have reported an astonishing attempt by the lawyers for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to have Fred Goodwin excluded from the legal case over the rights issue in 2008. They wanted four former directors removed from the case so as to streamline proceedings. However the judge presiding over the case threw this attempt out. The directors signed off the prospectus and hence should surely be accountable for what the plaintiffs claim was a misleading document. But the lawyer for ...

Does Rolls-Royce need shaking up?

Does Rolls-Royce (RR.) need shaking up? Or more to the point perhaps, will they be following the disclosure that activist fund manager ValueAct has taken a 5% stake in the company, although their agenda is as yet unclear. On the 30th July Rolls-Royce issued their half-year results. Results were disappointing as expected. The order book was up, but underlying revenue was down and underlying profit before tax down by 32%. This is basically the same story as was evident at the full ...

Markets in Freefall, Chinese shares and VCT Issues

While the world seems to be collapsing around us - with sharp falls in the price of most commodities including the critical ones of oil and gold - this writer took the time to attend the Annual General Meeting of Downing ONE VCT this morning. Forget also the fact that the Chinese stock market plummeted yesterday. The more I read about the dynamics of that market the more it looks similar to the US market in the 1920s where manipulation was ...

FT Acquisition, Toshiba, Diageo, Healthcare Locums, False Accounting, Chinese Companies, and AIM

The Financial Times is being sold by Pearson to Japanese media group Nikkei Group. The Chairman of Nikkei was quoted as saying it will be "business as usual" (in the FT of course) and that the "philosophy and values of the FT are the same as ours". Clearly they are still in the honeymoon period but let us hope that is true as the FT provides excellent factual news and commentary in general. Here's just some of the news they have ...

Alliance Trust Results

Yesterday (23/7/2015) Alliance Trust (ATST) announced its results for the six months to 30 June 2015. The results were disappointing with a net asset value (NAV) total return of 1.4% and a share price total return of 2.7%. Based on data published by Morningstar the NAV and share price total returns were below comparable figures for the company's peer group. The Morningstar peer group NAV return was 4.26% and share price return 5.53%. The Alliance Trust discount has, however, fallen from ...

National Grid AGM, Rensburg AIM VCT and Stocktrade

I attended the National Grid Annual General Meeting in Birmingham yesterday. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to ask a question as the organisation that I was representing as a proxy put my son's name on it rather than mine so I was only allowed in as a "guest". It was not a particularly exciting event this year. Not a single shareholder complained about the outrageously high pay of the executive directors. The Chairman was both dogmatic and condescending to the mainly ...
join ShareSoc