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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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Words of Wisdom from Nick Train at the Finsbury Trust AGM

Here's a very brief report on the AGM of Finsbury Growth and Income Trust (FGT) held yesterday (4/2/2016) - there is a much longer one here. This very successful, and hence popular, investment trust is managed by Nick Train and colleagues and has been for many years. I'll skip over the concerns about this trust such as the Chairman having too many jobs and there are way too many directors who have been on the board too long, and focus on Mr ...

Company Presentation and Supper in Richmond (Surrey)

We are pleased to announce we are launching the very first ShareSoc Supper in the UK and it will be taking place in Richmond in South West London on the 1st March. This is a response to feedback from our member survey telling us they want more events; it will be starting in Richmond but others will follow if our members like it (another one is already scheduled for the 3rd May). The purpose of the suppers is to bring interesting companies ...

Sainsbury and Home Retail – A Done Deal?

As I commented on the proposed acquisition of Home Retail by Sainsbury in previous blog posts (as a shareholder in the latter) here's some on this mornings announcement. In essence a deal has been agreed, with an offer equivalent to 161.3p in the hands of Home Retail shareholders. But that includes a capital return by Home Retail to their shareholders from the sale of Homebase which Sainsbury probably did not want anyway. The key justification for the deal is given later in ...

TD Direct Being Sold?

TD Direct, a favourite execution-only stockbroker among private investors, is likely to be sold according to a report by Sky News. There are a number of suggested bidders but one of them is Barclays Bank who run a similar platform under the name Barclays Stockbrokers. With TD Direct having £13 billion of assets under management, a merger of those platforms would still leave the combination somewhat smaller than Hargreaves Lansdown, the market leader. Mergers and restructurings are the name of the game ...

Placings and Open Offers and How to Do Them – St Ives and Tritax

One of the things that annoys private investors is when a company does a placing of shares. This can be for a number of reasons such as the company needing funds for an acquisition, or simply because the company is fast running out of cash and wishes to stave off financial distress. Because of the EU mandated Prospectus Directive, a full Rights Issue where all shareholders can participate in the share issuance and hence avoid dilution of their stake, does require an ...

More Bad News for Banks and their Investors

If there are any private investors still invested in major UK listed banks, last week (w/e 30/1/2016) was yet another for disillusionment. In the Financial Times, Lex hit the nail on the head when he said "The one-offs keep on coming. If one did not know better, one might suspect them of being two-, three-, or more-offs". He was referring to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), but other banks likewise posted bad news during the week. Let's take them in turn: RBS ...

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 ...
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