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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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A Dream Become a Nightmare – And a Plug for ShareSoc

There was a good article in the Daily Telegraph on Sunday (17/5/2015) explaining how Thatcher's dream of a share owning population has become a nightmare. She tried to create a nation of investors by privatisations and regulatory changes to improve business competition but instead many companies have ended up being sold to foreign buyers. Even worse there has been a collapse in private share ownership. The reported proportion of UK shares held by individuals has collapsed from 20% in 1994 to 11% ...

Alliance Trust Stocktrade Acquisition and Sexism in the City

Yesterday (15/5/2015), Alliance Trust announced the acquisition of the Stocktrade service from Brewin Dolphin which will be integrated into the Alliance Trust Savings (ATS) subsidiary. The acquisition will cost ATS £14 million, and that cost plus an additional £8m of regulatory capital will be funded by the parent company with an injection of equity. This move will anger many shareholders of Alliance Trust who have expressed concerns about the expansion plans for the Alliance Trust subsidiaries, the capital required and the ...

Shareholder Action Group Launched for Alliance Trust

PRESS RELEASE 65 (12/5/2015) Following the Annual General Meeting of Alliance Trust where the Board conceded the appointment of new directors subsequent to the requisition by Elliott Advisors, ShareSoc has been encouraged by a number of private investors to support a shareholder action group to represent their interests. Many investors still have concerns about the strategy of the company and about some aspects of its operations. A shareholder action group has therefore been launched and investors can register their interest on this ...

Shareholder Action Group Launched for Alliance Trust

Following the Annual General Meeting of Alliance Trust (ATST) where the Board conceded the appointment of new directors subsequent to the requisition by Elliott Advisors, ShareSoc has been encouraged by a number of private investors to support a shareholder action group to represent their interests. Many investors still have concerns about the strategy of the company and about some aspects of its operations. A shareholder action group has therefore been launched and investors can register their interest on this web page: https://www.sharesoc.org/alliance.html Roger ...

Who are the Election Winners and Losers?

Who are the General Election winners and losers? Well most investors have benefited because the market as a whole has risen today after the election results gave the Conservatives an unexpected victory. Specific sectors that benefited were house builders and utility companies. House builders were generally up at the time of writing this note, with Berkeley Group in particular up 10% - no doubt investors being relieved there would be no mansion tax affecting expensive properties in London.  Utility companies were ...

Shareholder voting, remuneration and BG Group

Manifest, a proxy advisory service, have reported on the voting at Annual General Meetings recently. It was good to read that there was significant opposition to the change to 14 days notice at the General Meetings of both Arm and Anglo-American - 18% at the latter and even higher at the former. This commonly arises where there are substantial overseas holders who find difficulty in getting in their proxy votes in time because of the complexity of the voting chain. But ...

Alliance Trust AGM – Will Dundee cake suffice?

These are some initial impressions of the Alliance Trust AGM in Dundee yesterday - a full report can be found here. It was not quite as exciting as it might have been after the company conceded defeat the previous day and agreed to accept two of the new directors nominated by Elliott, who then withdrew their resolutions. Alliance said it was a "compromise" but most commentators saw it as a tactical withdrawal at best. All Alliance have got is a "non-disparagement" agreement ...

ShareSoc Masterclass in Manchester

After our very successful Masterclass events in London and Peterborough, we have now scheduled a similar event in Altrincham (near Manchester) for the 11th June. Our Masterclasses are designed to offer an entertaining and educational experience for investors. They enable you to learn from proven experts on how to make money in the stock market (or avoid losing it)! Our panel will consist of ISA millionaire Leon Boros, Keith Ashworth-Lord, manager of the ConBrio Sanford DeLand UK Buffettology Fund, Stockopedia CEO Edward Page-Croft and Roger ...

Tesco Results and Elementis AGM

Tesco (TSCO) and Elementis (ELM) - two very different companies. The first announced their preliminary results this morning, and the second held their AGM today which I attended. The opening line of the Tesco announcement says  it all: "It's has been a very difficult year for Tesco". Although it said like-for-like sales volumes were up for the first time in four years, the rest of the commentary was pretty negative and of course there will be no final dividend. Debts are rising, pension ...

Change at the top at Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce (RR.) have announced the abrupt departure of CEO John Rishton, although apparently it was his desire to retire and "have a change of lifestyle" that prompted this rather than pressure from the board or from shareholders. It would appear he may not have been enjoying the job of late. After the dismal last set of results it is not a surprise. I commented then (in February) by saying "My view: it may be a great business with great products but ...
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