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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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Epidemic Over? Unable to Trade and Chrysalis VCT Wind-Up

Pandemic News The news that the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19 appears to work (at least 90% of the time) and has no negative side effects gave stock markets a good dose of euphoria yesterday (9th November). It suggests that we might be able to return to a normal life in future, but exactly when is far from clear. Actually producing and distributing the vaccine is going to be a mammoth task and it is very clear that it will only be given ...

Positive Markets but Platforms Letting Investors Down

Following Pfizer and BioNtech's announcement today that early results from Phase III trials of their Covid-19 vaccine suggested that the vaccine was safe and effective, markets generally have soared. Cyclical and leisure/travel stocks in particular have benefitted whereas certain others have suffered. With this market turbulence it is not surprising that many investors wanted to trade. However, I have seen widespread reports that certain major investment platforms, including Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell/YouInvest have buckled under the strain and are not allowing ...

Is the FRC doing a good job?

By Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc. I think the FRC is doing a much better job. The record fine for Deloitte re Autonomy, (see Compliance Week: FRC fines Deloitte record $19.4M for Autonomy audit failures ) and the fines at Redcentric and Redcentric's auditors, and the prosecutions of former Redcentric directors in Southwark Crown Court are further evidence that things are changing. As is the transitioning from FRC into ARGA. But don't take my word for it. Come to the FRC events we have organised ...

Changing auditors’ responsibility for detecting fraud

by Mohammed Amin MBE FRSA MA FCA AMCT CTA (Fellow). This article was first published in UKSA’s Newsletter, The Private Investor, and is reproduced with the author’s permission. The Expectations Gap After almost every major corporate reporting failure, arguments arise about the "expectations gap". This is the gap between what shareholders, creditors, employees and journalists think that auditors should be doing, and what auditors consider they are actually required to do. This expectations gap is particularly acute in cases where there has been fraud. The ...

Continued strong fundraising activity on AIM

Allenby Capital, whose CEO Nick Naylor spoke at ShareSoc's Investing Masterclass on Remuneration, have just issued their quarterly update which shows the way the AIM market continues to help companies requiring capital. AIM is playing an important role in these difficult Covid times, writes ShareSoc Director Cliff Weight. Key points in the report: AIM continued its strong fundraising performance in Q3 2020. By the end of September, the total funds raised year to date of £4,085m had already surpassed the £3,997m raised ...

Preventing Fraud in Accounts – FRC Tightens Audit Rules

There have been repeated examples of the accounts of public companies being fraudulent in recent years. Wirecard was probably the latest and biggest example. I have seen examples of such misdeeds twice in my investment career in my own holdings although losses have been minimal in both cases, the last example being Patisserie (£95 million missing from their accounts). But I have avoided a lot of others where the losses to some investors have been enormous. There have simply been too ...

ShareSoc+UKSA make joint response to HM Treasury consultation ‘Regulatory Framework for Approval of Financial Promotions’

Peter Parry, ShareSoc member and former Policy Director at the UK Shareholders Association writes about the joint submission by the UK Shareholders Association and ShareSoc to the HM Treasury consultation ‘Regulatory Framework for Approval of Financial Promotions' Financial promotions – a case study in how not to delegate. The Consultation Another day and another consultation lands in the inbox. This one’s from HM Treasury - titled ‘Regulatory Framework for Approval of Financial Promotions’. Sounds boring? Maybe, but the issue under review is actually a ...

Laggard Angus Energy to have closed GM – this underperformer misuses Covid rules

by Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director I do not own shares in Angus, but follow what is happening having received various emails, with concerns about over-optimism in previous RNSs, from shareholders. Their Brockham oil well is about 5 miles from where I live, so that makes it interesting too. Angus have announced a closed GM via RNS today, which states... As a result of the current COVID-19 crisis and the UK Government's restrictions, and in accordance with the provisions of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance ...

Market Musings

The stock market seems to be positively benign at present, if not almost somnambulant. While certain sections of the economy have gone to hell in a handcart, the enthusiasm for technology stocks has not abated. My very diversified portfolio is up today at the time of writing by 0.4% helped by good news from Dotdigital (DOTD) today and a sudden enthusiasm for GB Group (GBG). Optimism about a more general recovery in the economy seems to be still prevalent. It’s probably a ...

Investment Trust Discounts, What To Do About Them and SEC Example

In this article, I argue that discounts are bad for those invested in a trust, and the Board of the investment trust should look to reduce any discount. However, for those thinking of investing in the trust the discount might be an opportunity. The question is, how real is that opportunity or is it just a 'value trap'? We look at why discounts can arise and the measures that can be taken to eliminate them or even move the trust to a ...
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