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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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Patisserie – and How to Avoid Such Disasters

The events at Patisserie (CAKE) have been well covered in both the national media and financial press so I won’t repeat them here. This article will, therefore, concentrate on...

Placings at Gordon Dadds and Blue Prism

There were two placings announced yesterday. The first was by legal firm Gordon Dadds (GOR). I held a very few shares in the company. This company had already annoyed...

RBS General Meeting: You Decide!

I have today published two posts on ShareSoc's blog, expressing different opinions on RBS's proposed resolution to buy back shares from HM Treasury. One from our chairman and another from senior ShareSoc member Roger Lawson. Firstly, the facts. You can find full details of the General Meeting and proposal here: https://investors.rbs.com/shareholder-centre/shareholder-meetings.aspx. If you are a shareholder you should study the circular available from that webpage before deciding how to vote. ShareSoc encourages its members to make their own minds up on matters such as ...

RBS Share Buy-Back

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is proposing to buy-back up to 4.99% of its shares from the stake held by the Government (by UKGI on its behalf). At present the Government holds 62% of the company stemming from the bailout in the banking crisis ten years ago. They have been trying to get shot of it ever since as no Tory government thinks it should be investing in banks. This latest proposal makes it clear that UKGI cannot easily sell ...

RBS General Meeting – Voting Considerations

RBS has called a General Meeting for 6th February to consider a Special Resolution giving the group the authority to make off-market purchases of up to 4.99% of the outstanding shares from HM Treasury. In effect this is an authority to effect a capital reduction, which will partially reduce the overhang of government held shares. The timing is pretty poor, coming just three months prior to the AGM and without the benefit of full year financial reports. But it seems to signal ...

Bogle Death, Patisserie and Diploma AGM

The death of John Bogle has been announced at the age of 89. He wrote several very informative books on investment and was the founder of Vanguard which has grown into one of the largest mutual fund managers by promoting index fund management. He also promoted the idea that the investors should own the fund manager. He suffered from heart attacks from a young age, the first at age 31, and actually had a heart transplant in 1990. So in some ...

Response to CMA Audit Market Study Update Paper

The UK Shareholders Association and ShareSoc have made a joint submission to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in response to the update paper they have issued relating to their audit market study. Our submission is available here: CMA - Response to Update Paper Final The key points we made were: The need for radical change The Siren voices, from those involved who argue for limited change, should be ignored. The quality of audits needs to be improved. Peer review is a good ...

FCA Views of the Financial Landscape

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published a document entitled “Sector Views” giving their annual analysis of the UK financial landscape and how the financial system is working – see https://tinyurl.com/yc492lkt. For retail investors there is a chapter on “Retail Investments” which is particularly worth reading. But we also learn that the “FCA continues to plan for a range of scenarios regarding Brexit” which is good to hear. I somehow doubt it will be settled tomorrow (15th January) in Parliament – I ...

Improving Auditing – It’s Certainly Time

Readers don’t need to be reminded that many of the most damaging events for investors in public companies in recent years have arisen because of the failures of auditors to identify misleading accounts, if not downright fraud in some cases. The Kingman review of the FRC and the views of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggest that there is a widely recognised problem in the quality of work done by auditors and the regulation of the profession. I have mentioned previously ...

ShareSoc Response to Parliamentary Enquiry on the Future of Audit

ShareSoc and the UK Shareholders Association have submitted this joint response on behalf of individual investors to the House of Commons BEIS Committee enquiry on the future of audit. It is a joint response from UKSA and ShareSoc on behalf of individual investors. UKSA and ShareSoc represent the interests of private shareholders. In addition to our own members, there are 5 million people who own shares and have investment accounts with platforms in the UK. The Office for National Statistics estimates that individual investors ...

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