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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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Lakehouse and Tungsten

To follow up on my previous report on a presentation by Lakehouse directors following a requisition submitted to remove three of the non-executive directors, the company has now published a 21 page document giving their reasons why shareholders should support the board. As is customary in these battles, the board "unanimously recommends you vote against the resolutions" to remove the three new directors and appoint new ones. I said in my previous note that it was "all still a puzzle" as it ...

The Trouble with LTIPs…

It was with some consternation that I read this announcement today from one of my investee companies, Gulf Marine Services (LSE:GMS), in which LTIP awards are granted to several...

Lakehouse – All Still a Puzzle

I attended a presentation by Lakehouse (LAKE) last night at Mello. I was keen to learn more about this company, and why a requisition to remove directors had been made recently which is a somewhat unusual event. The public announcements and national media comments on it left a lot of questions unanswered which I hoped might be supplied. Here are some notes on the meeting. First some background. Lakehouse is an asset and energy support services group that constructs, improves, maintains and ...

FAMR and Advice Services

Just before the Budget was announced, the Final Report of the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) was published. That Review was the latest examination of the financial advice market. To put it in some historic perspective, the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) was introduced to improve the quality of financial advice provided and remove obvious bias. So financial advisors had to stop bundling, and effectively hiding, the cost of advice when selling financial products but had to declare it. This certainly improved the ...

Budget Spring 2016 – You Won’t Need Sugar to Sweeten this Pill

The Chancellor appeared to be in a buoyant mood delivering his budget speech today even though he noted that the global economy is weak and financial markets are turbulent. He reported a fast growing UK economy and lots of personal tax cuts. Indeed he emphasised that with 1% of the richest taxpayers contributing 28% of all income tax, this was proof "that we are all in this together" in case you did not realise it! But the wealthy certainly won't be ...

How to Hold Shares – Investors Chronicle Article

Friday (11/3/2016) saw the publication of a sound article by Investors Chronicle under the headline "Choose the right way to hold your shares". It reported on the recently published BIS research paper on shareholding in the UK upon which we have previously commented. It quotes me extensively on the subject including these comments: "The UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc) said the report showed "the need for reform". Roger Lawson, deputy chairman of ShareSoc, says brokers have an incentive to keep investors ignorant ...

The Financial Times, religion and Brexit

Has the FT developed an interest in religious affairs? On Friday (11/3/2016), they reported on two matters. First was the revelation that to become a saint, you need strong financial backing. Apparently the Pope is cracking down on financial abuses in the sainthood business. It can cost as much as £750,000 to get a person promoted to sainthood and paying more speeds up the process. Second was their reporting of Archbishop Justin Welby's views on Brexit as published in the parliamentary magazine ...

Stanley Gibbons Fund Raising

Stanley Gibbons (SGI) issued a profit warning in late February indicated likely losses for the year, and immediately said they were considering a number of fund raising alternatives. More...

CMA, Ofgem and Data Protection Rules

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have been tackling the lack of competition in the market for household utility supplies for some time. They are concerned that many customers have not switched suppliers for some years. Stuck on a basic tariff, they may be paying several hundred pounds a year over the market rates available by shopping around (for example by using price comparison web sites). They were proposing a price cap for such tariffs, which would of course not be a ...

Company Results – Alliance Trust, LSE and Whitbread

This morning Alliance Trust announced their results for the year ending December 2015. This company has been the subject of a campaign by ShareSoc (see https://www.sharesoc.org/alliance.html ) and Elliott Advisors were also aggressive in demanding changes before Alliance's last Annual General Meeting but then committed to a truce for one year. Subsequently the Chairman Karin Forseke and Chief Executive Katherine Garrett-Cox have departed and the board has otherwise been restructured. This followed some years of underperformance which resulted in a wide ...
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