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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.

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Modernisation of Stamp Duty

HMRC have announced a “Call for Evidence” on the “Modernisation of Stamp Taxes on Shares Framework”. If you deal mainly in the shares of public companies you may not know much about this subject – I certainly don’t. But the consultation document is very enlightening – see link below. That’s if you can understand it because this tax seems to be like capital gains tax – horribly complicated as it has been built up over many years and with a large ...

SVS Special Administration: a Scandal in the Making

I have written previously about the collapse of brokerage SVS Securities, here: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/insolvency-and-administration/an-update-on-svs-securities/ and here: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/brokers/another-update-on-the-svs-special-administration/ Since my last post on this topic, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has the transfer of assets from SVS to a new broker taken an inordinate amount of time, but the choice of broker to receive those assets seems questionable, to say the least. This debacle has been covered by press articles, here: https://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/svs-client-fury-as-new-broker-fails-to-return-278m/a1390644 and here: https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2020/08/14/svs-clients-plagued-by-delays-at-new-broker/ More recently, ShareSoc has been contacted ...

Lessons From a Failed Investment

This is a premium article, available to ShareSoc full members and SIGnet members. Recent troubles at the AA (AA.) and Petropavlovsk (POG) brought to mind another problematic investment that I am more familiar with and which shares some characteristics of those companies. That investment is Gulf Marine Services (GMS). IPOs by Private Equity Vendors Like the AA, GMS was floated by its original private equity owners, with a premium listing on the LSE main market, in March 2014. GMS is a relatively straightforward business: ...

Victoria and Downing One VCT Annual Reports, and Rio Tinto Mea Culpa

With it being all quiet on the financial front, with a lot of people on holiday, I had the time to read a couple of Annual Reports over the weekend. First came Victoria (VCP), a producer of flooring products (carpets and tiles) in which I have a relatively small holding. Chairman Geoff Wilding always has some interesting things to say and their Annual Report is an exemplary model of shareholder enlightenment. He commences with this statement: “There is an old Yiddish adage ...

Edge VCT Update 3: 19 August 2020

We arranged a webinar on Friday 14 August at 4pm for shareholders to better understand the implication of the resolutions, and hence help them determine how they should vote at the GM and AGM. Here is the link to the presentation/video: https://www.sharesoc.org/seminar/sharesoc-edge-vct-webinar-14-aug-2020/ As it was a seminar, this was entered in our seminar area and only available to Full members. You will need to login to your ShareSoc account to access this video link. ShareSoc members who have VCT shares are recommended to join the VCT ...

EDGE Performance VCT Webinar on 14 August 2020, at 4pm

We have arranged a webinar on Friday 14 August at 4pm for shareholders to better understand the implication of the resolutions, and hence help them determine how they should vote at the GM and AGM. Terry Back, Chair of the VCT, and members of the Action Group (Robin Goodfellow, Richard Roth and Cliff Weight) will be speaking with plenty of time for Q&A. To register go to https://www.sharesoc.org/events/sharesoc-edge-vct-webinar-14-aug-2020/ ShareSoc launched a campaign in Jan 2020 to improve the performance of Edge Performance VCT Plc ...

Update #11, 5 Aug 2020 – Sirius Legal Judgment Published and Implications for Law Commission Review

The judgment of The Hon. Mr Justice Fancourt in the matter of Sirius Minerals plc Court Hearing of 13 March 2020 has now been published and makes reference to ShareSoc's submission, in several places, with paras 5 and 6 being the most important. 5. I have read letters from Mr Cliff Weight of the UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc). The concerns that he expresses are that the vote at the meeting that agreed to accept the offer of 5.5 pence per share ...

Blancco Campaign Update #4

Campaign members will recall that the restatements of the Blancco accounts for year ending June 2016 and other accounting corrections led to a loss of over £135 million in shareholder value. The previous CEO exercised Stock Appreciation Rights prior to the disclosure of these restatements. ShareSoc referred these issues to the Financial Conduct Authority in January 2018 and, as far as the audit by KPMG was concerned to the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales (ICAEW) in February 2018. ICAEW ...

Shenanigans in Siberia: the Petropavlovsk Saga and Why Retail Investors Matter

One of ShareSoc’s key beliefs is that private investors are important and their voice needs to be heard. The current, for want of a better word, shenanigans, at Petropavlovsk (POG) gives private investors a key role in determining the future of a company. Background Books could be written about POG, and probably deserve to be. It is a gold miner in Siberia, whose shares rose to above £5 in 2011, before collapsing under the weight of debt and being rescued by an emergency ...

Capital Gains Tax Reform? Surely Long Overdue

CGT Review Last week the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) announced a review of Capital Gains Tax. They have invited evidence and there is a simple on-line survey you can complete on the subject (see link below). As someone who occasionally pays capital gains tax, I give you my views on the subject below. It is of course a horribly complex tax with several different rates and numerous exemptions. I need to employ an accountant to work out my self-assessment tax returns when ...
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