Blog

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.

If you click on any blog post, you will find an option to subscribe to the blog. Subscribing means that you will be automatically emailed, once a day, whenever any new posts are made to the blog. You can also follow us on Twitter to see tweets whenever new posts are made.


Winning The Loser’s Game – It’s Like Tennis

It’s that time of year when we review our investment performance over the last year and some of us realise that it would have been lot better if it was not for the few disasters in our share holdings. For example, this is what well known investor and ShareSoc director David Stredder tweeted before Xmas: “End of 2018 and most of this year has been pretty awful investing wise for me...ACSO, CRAW, BUR, SOM, OPM & JLH were all top 15 ...

Brydon Audit Review and FRC Update

Readers probably don’t need to be reminded of the poor reputation of auditors and accountants. The announcement yesterday from Staffline Group (STAF) reiterates the point. They note the latest analysis indicates that 2018 profits were overstated by about £4 million. The CFO, Mike Watts, has left with immediate effect. Sir Donald Brydon has published his review of the audit market and makes recommendations for significant changes. This is what he says in a preface: “The quality and effectiveness of audit has become an ...

Serco Charges, Unilever Trading and DotDigital AGM

I like to report on the latest evidence of fraudulent accounting just to remind folks how little one can trust the accounts of companies. I have not mentioned Serco (SRP) previously but it is now reported that two executives of the company have been charged with fraud and false accounting by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The charges related to false reporting of tagging of offenders to the Ministry of Justice and the company has previously entered into a deferred prosecution agreement ...

Northern VCTs and Mercia

The 3 Northern VCTs (Northern Venture Trust, Northern 2 VCT and Northern 3 VCT) are proposing to novate their management agreements with NVM Private Equity LLP in favour of Mercia Asset Management. I looked at the NVM Private Equity LLP accounts and they show turnover of £12.5 million whereas the Mercia RNS says the bit they are buying has £7.5 million turnover (and £270 million AUM), but there is no explanation of the difference in the RNS. However, a little hunting on the ...

LSE Consultation on Market Structure and Trading Hours

The London Stock Exchange launched a consultation last week on the subject topic. You can find this consultation here: https://www.londonstockexchange.com/traders-and-brokers/rules-regulations/change-and-updates/stock-exchange-notices/2019/n1819_attach1.pdf I will compile a response to this consultation for ShareSoc, on behalf of the individual investor community. If you have any views on the matters being consulted on, please let me know by emailing info@sharesoc.org. Please put "LSE Market Hours Consultation" in the subject line of your email. Alternatively, you can comment on this post. I will do my best to respond to ...

RBS Shareholder Committee Campaign – Update 17

ShareSoc and UKSA have now paused this campaign, because RBS are now engaging better with shareholders and have announced a programme of 4 events a year specifically focussed on engagement with individual shareholders. See https://investors.rbs.com/shareholder-centre/shareholder-events.aspx, where you can also access a recording of RBS' successful virtual event on 25 Nov 2019. This has been a successful campaign. Notable achievements: We were able to successfully requisition 3 resolutions at two AGMs. Although we did not get shareholders to vote in favour of a ...

FRC Fines Grant Thornton £650k, Ted Baker and Tullow

A ShareSoc member emailed us to give his view: This is terrible. Why wouldn’t the FRC name the partner and the company involved, especially when Grant Thornton has been responsible for so many mishaps. We attend meetings with FRC and are always assured things will be different. All that happens is new people takeover, warm the seats for a few years, take the money and move on. In the other article , the former NAO leader Sir Amyas Morse , a former PWC global ...

Edinburgh IT Fires Manager

The Edinburgh Investment Trust (EDIN) has fired fund manager Invesco. This company is an equity income trust focused primarily on the UK, although it also has an objective to increase the Net Asset Value per share in excess of the growth in the FTSE All-Share Index. But in the last few years it has signally failed to achieve that objective. According to the AIC it has fallen behind the sector average in growth in net asset value per share in all ...

Profit Warnings at XP Power and Ted Baker, plus Mercia Placing

A number of profit warnings this morning. The most interesting to me was at XP Power (XPP) although I do not hold it. It was interesting because as a former IT Manager it is a good example of how to screw up a business by poor IT management. In this case their problem is an implementation of a new SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The announcement this morning says that some short-term disruption to shipments “will result in revenues and adjusted ...

Mindless Investment Wins Out?

Last week on-line investment news site Citywire published a report headlined “Tracker fund sales smash records as UK investors pile into passives”. I was the first to add a comment which was “Mindless investment wins out. But at least folks are wising up to open-ended property funds and highly dubious ‘absolute return’ funds”. That generated a number of other comments, mainly from people defending tracker funds. For example, a couple were: 1) Retail investors, with enough sense to be aware of their ...
join ShareSoc

Get more stuff

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Other Blog Posts