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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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Market Trends, Interest Rates, Glaxo and Yu Group Accounts

Yesterday was another dismal day in the markets. The US fell significantly allegedly caused by the rise in interest rates announced by the Federal Reserve and the UK market followed it down this morning. The US rate rise was widely expected although perhaps slightly lower estimates for US economic growth had an impact. But when the markets are in a bear mood, excuses for selling abound. Meanwhile the Bank of England has announced today that their base rate will remain at ...

Small shareholders renew bid to make RBS a better run company

Press release 108 - Small shareholders renew bid to make RBS a better run company RBS Shareholders Requisition Shareholder Resolution for a Shareholder Committee. Over 100 shareholders in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have requisitioned a resolution to install a "Shareholder Committee" at the company, which will include shareholder representatives, to improve the corporate governance and shareholder engagement at RBS. RBS will now have to put this proposal to a vote at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2019. ShareSoc ...

It’s Not Just Blood on the High Street – ASOS et al

The trading statement this morning (17/12/2018) from ASOS (ASC) has caused the share price to fall by 40% at the time of writing. Other internet retailers such as Boohoo (BOO) fell in sympathy. ASOS reported that revenue was up by 14% over the previous year, but warned that they “experienced a significant deterioration in the important trading month of November and conditions remain challenging. As a result, we have reduced our expectations for the current financial year”. In effect the previous forecast sales ...

Response to Illiquid Assets Consultation cp18-27

Today, 17 December 2018, ShareSoc and  the UK Shareholders Association  submitted to the FCA a joint response on behalf of individual investors to this consultation. The key points we made were: UKSA and ShareSoc represent the 5 million people who own shares and have investment accounts with platforms in the UK. We represent the individual investors who own 12% of the UK stock market: they own 30%, if you include their investments via funds, pensions, etc. Our view is that better labelling of these ...

Big Audit Firm Break-Up and Northern VCT AGM

A report commissioned by the Labour Party has advocated the break-up of the big four audit firms that dominate the audits of FTSE-350 firms. The report, co-authored by Prof. Prem Sikka et al, even goes so far as to suggest that their share of that market should be limited to 50% and that joint audits be promoted. In addition it argues that audit firms should be banned from doing non-audit work for the same company, and an independent body to appoint audit ...

Blancco AGM and Regulatory Landscape

Today I attended the Annual General Meeting of Blancco Technology Group (BLTG). This technology company is now focused on the data erasure market which is surely a growing one. I have commented on this company before (see links below), particularly as the company, and its shareholders, seemed to be a victim of false accounting – an issue that is way too prevalent of late. The legal framework under which companies, their directors and the regulatory bodies operate just seems to be too ...

Applied Graphene Materials AGM on 18 December and the QCA Code

AIM-listed Applied Graphene Materials(AGM) holds its AGM on 18 December 2018. If you hold shares it might be worth attending and asking some questions. AGM share price has dropped 90% from £4, 5 years ago, to 38p now and has a market cap of less than £20million and burns £4m of cash every year. AGM has been through a number of significant changes in the past year – a new CEO was appointed in August 2018 and a new joint CFO and company secretary arrived ...

New FCA consultation on CFDs – Request for help

by Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc The FCA have launched a new consultation on CFDs and “retail derivatives”: https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/consultation-papers/cp18-38-restricting-contract-difference-products-sold-retail-clients-and-discussion-other-retail  We are circulating this to members to see if anyone has specific experience and competence to be able to respond – and is willing to help. The FCA have asked 17 specific questions. Our approach to consultations is to only answer those questions where we have particular knowledge.  We usually write a covering letter highlighting our views about the key issues and then give the answers ...

Acquittals Over Tesco Fraud

Yesterday (6/12/2018) was another sad day for those who would like to stop false accounts being published by public companies. Two former executives of Tesco who had been charged with their involvement in the inflating of Tesco’s profits by including supplier credits were discharged by the court on the basis that they had no case to answer. The judge, Sir John Royce, said the case was so weak that it should not be put to a jury. It appears that the problem ...

FRC Slides 3 Dec 2018, How to Complain and Appeal for Volunteers

I have received this feedback from the FRC "Thank you very much for rounding up a great audience on Monday, we are very pleased with how the event went. Please find attached the slides and feel free to circulate them to attendees." So, here are the slides. Lifting the Lid Event Slides - 3 December 2018 The FRC stressed they want to hear our complaints about companies and auditors. If you have a complaint then send it to the FRC complaints email oversight@frc.org.uk. If you wish to ...

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