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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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Action following resignation of auditors

As part of their joint work to represent individual shareholders' interests, the ShareSoc and UKSA policy teams continue to press government to improve information transparency for investors. With that aim in mind, UKSA's Policy Director Peter Parry has written to our relevant contact at BEIS, as follows, concerning the issue of auditor resignations: Action following resignation of auditors The Policy teams at UKSA and ShareSoc have been having further thoughts about the action that should be taken by companies when auditors resign the ...

Burford Capital, Goals Soccer Centres, Carillion, and Why Numbers Are Not Important

To follow on from my previous comments this morning on Burford Capital (BUR), this is a typical “shorting” attack where the shorter (Muddy Waters) and their supporters make a lot of allegations which investors are unable to verify in any useful time frame. I certainly questioned the accounting approach used by Burford and other litigation finance firms as I commented on it back in June, but disentangling the factual accusations in the Muddy Waters dossier from innuendo and comment is not ...

Market Crashes and Burford Capital

Investors might have been panicked by the recent market falls driven by the US/China trade wars, Brexit and gloomy economic forecasts. As usual, the UK market is led by the US markets. The S&P 500 is down 5% since the 26th July even though there was a slight bounce upwards yesterday. There can be few readers portfolios which have not suffered some impact because there were few stocks that did not fall. Now I am an inveterate trend follower so how did ...

RBS Shareholder Event Tuesday 10 September 2019, 6pm – 8pm in London.

I am very pleased to report progress at RBS on shareholder engagement with individual investors. The next event will take place on Tuesday 10 September 2019, 6pm – 8pm in London. If you are interested in attending this event please email your full name, postcode and Shareholder Reference Number (if known) to rbseventlondon@computershare.co.uk by Friday 23 August 2019. On the 25 November 2019 RBS are planning a virtual shareholder event. Further information regarding this event and how to participate will be made available soon. I ...

FRC Enforcement of its Rules

by Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director Very belatedly, the FRC has substantially increased tough action to tackle poor quality audit. To me, these were the key words which showed that for the last ten years the FRC had dreadfully understaffed this activity - "The Enforcement Division has grown significantly in recent years reflecting the FRC’s investment in what has become recognised as one of the organisation’s key functions. A decade ago the team comprised just six members. By 31 March 2019 it had been expanded to ...

Albion (AAVC): ShareSoc Launches Albion Campaign, Latest News

On 5 August 2019, ShareSoc formally launched a new Campaign, The Albion Venture Capital VCT Campaign see https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/albion-vct-campaign/ . ShareSoc, the UK Individual Shareholders Society, is very concerned by proposed changes to the Albion Venture Capital VCT (AAVC) fees charged by its investment manager Albion Capital. We have therefore launched a campaign, seeking members to vote against resolutions 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 at the Albion Venture Capital AGM  and the GM resolution on 21 August 2019. In addition, we seek ...

Albion Venture Capital VCT Blog number 2

Albion want to change the performance fee from the current arrangement (1.9% management fee, plus 8% of returns over a hurdle rate of 5% per annum with a high-water mark) to 20% of returns above a hurdle of RPI +2%p.a., from a new starting point of NAV at 1 April 2019. ShareSoc recommends shareholders vote against this proposal and other resolutions at the AGM on 21 August. 1.9% plus 20% is egregious, particularly when: it represents an increase from historically agreed arrangements and  ...

IQE, The Long and the Short of IQE?

I see that T Rowe Price now owns 17% of IQE, but has lent out 4.75%. The amount it has lent out reduced from 5% to 4.75% on 25 July 2019. see https://www.voxmarkets.co.uk/rns/announcement/6f11c0e6-1401-419b-b9c5-e19356c177fc/ On 24 July, Coltrane Asset Management, L.P. increased its short position from 4.10% to 4.33%. So will someone who is short be squeezed, as you cannot short a stock unless someone agrees to lend the share? I read this as T Rowe is a long term holder of IQE, but happy ...

Brexit Investment Strategies

Investors may have noticed that the pound is in free fall and heading towards US$1.20. That’s near the low after the initial Brexit vote. Pundits, not that they can be relied on for forex forecasts, suggest it could go lower now that we seem to be heading for a “no-deal” Brexit. With the pound falling, and potential damage to the UK economy from a hard Brexit, investors should surely have been avoiding companies reliant on UK sales, or UK consumers, or those ...

New Stockopedia Version and Abcam Trading Update

Like many private investors, I use the Stockopedia software to provide me with a summary of key financial information on a company. I also use it to provide “alerts” on price changes and for occasional stock screening. It’s one of the key elements in my share portfolio management. It has always been quick and easy to use, without too much complexity. They have just released a new version of the software that now supports mobile devices much better – that was ...
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