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.


Patisserie General Meeting – No Excitement But Few Questions Answered Either

I attended the General Meeting of Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) this morning at the ungodly time of 9.00 am – presumably chosen to deter attendance. An announcement earlier from the company will also have deterred attendance as it said no questions on past events would be answered so as not to prejudice investigations by “multiple regulators and authorities”. But there were about 20 shareholders present, including some institutional representatives. This GM was to approve the second tranche of share placings and I expected ...

Are FTSE100 CEOs Overpaid?

Comments on Deborah Hargreaves' new book and my conclusions thereon. by Cliff Weight, 30 October 2018. I read Deborah Hargreaves book "Are Chief Executives Overpaid? (The Future of Capitalism)" with great interest. It is an easy read and covers a vast amount of material which illustrates the complexity of any discussion of executive pay. I commend it to all. You can buy it on Amazon. I was on a panel of speakers at the CSFI event on 15 October where Deborah spoke and introduced her ...

UKSA / ShareSoc policy papers, submissions and campaigns

Since we began merger discussions, UKSA and ShareSoc have worked together on policy and campaigning issues. Below is a list of issues where we have made a significant input. This shows the wide number of areas where we have been active since 1st January 2017 (Updated 25th October 2018). Date Document Recipient Drafted by Notes December 2018 (Started Dec 2016) RBS Shareholder committee campaign RBS/Media ShareSoc (CW) Supported by UKSA November 2018 Procurement of Audit services (Kingman Part II) Sir John Kingman PP with CW Joint submission from UKSA and SS October  2018 Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consultation ...

Consultation Response: Competition and Markets Authority re Statutory Audit Market Study

UKSA  and ShareSoc made a joint response to this consultation. The key points we made were: We believe that there is competition in the market for audit services, although in the case of FTSE 100 companies, market competition is limited - wider choice and more competition would be beneficial. Nonetheless, competition does not necessarily lead to improved quality which is the main concern about audit at present. We believe that the main problem lies in the way in which audit services are procured. We ...

Budget Summary – Austerity Coming to an End

Philip Hammond’s budget today can be summarised as: More money for the NHS. More money for the MOD. Money for schools. More money to fix potholes. More money for housing. More money for the Universal Credit scheme. Yes “austerity” is being relaxed. Changes to taxation are relatively minor, but there will be a new tax on “digital platforms” which is clearly aimed at large companies such as Facebook and Alphabet (Google) who generate large revenues from their operations in the UK but ...

Standard Life UK Smaller Companies AGM, WPP and Tesla

For those folks who invest in smaller companies, it’s always educational to attend the Annual General Meeting of Standard Life UK Smaller Companies (SLS) which I did today. This investment trust has been managed by Harry Nimmo and his team for many years and he has consistently beaten the company’s benchmark (currently Numis Smaller Companies Plus AIM index). Harry’s presentation highlighted that smaller companies were a “great place to be until the last 4 weeks”. He said that we often see sharp ...

Brexit Prevarication, The Company, Sarbanes-Oxley and Patisserie Holdings (CAKE)

Prevarication definitions: delaying giving someone an answer, or avoiding telling the whole truth. Theresa May’s suggestion for an extension of the Brexit transition period surely smacks of prevarication and all sides of the Brexit debate saw it for what it was. The result is some furious back-peddling by the Prime Minister. Putting off decisions usually does not make them any easier. It is not at all clear what the PM’s strategy is here. Was she perhaps hoping to put off Brexit ...

Meeting with Link Asset Services

I recently attended a meeting with Link Asset Services who claim to be the largest UK share registrar. In addition to me there were two senior managers from Link and two ShareSoc directors (Mark Northway and Mark Bentley). ShareSoc and I do of course have a long-standing interest in ensuring shareholders can and do vote their shares at General Meetings. Other matters discussed were the problems created by nominee accounts, in the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD), in the Central Securities Deposit ...

Alliance Trust Savings Sold

Alliance Trust (ATST) has sold its Alliance Trust Savings (ATS) subsidiary to privately-owned company Interactive Investor. The ATS investment platform was always a peculiar business for a traditional investment trust to be holding. It was also consistently loss-making and reported an operating loss of £19.3 million in 2017 after a big write down of intangible assets. The directors valued the ATS business at £38.3 million in the 2017 accounts and Interactive Investor are paying £40 million for it but it looks ...

IPOs, Platforms, Growth Stocks and Shareholder Rights

I agreed with FT writer Neil Collins in a previous article when discussing the prospective IPO of Aston Martin (AML) – “never buy a share in an initial public offering” he suggested because those who are selling know more about the stock than you do. We were certainly right about that company because the share price is now 24% below the IPO price. Smithson Investment Trust (SSON) did rather better on its first day of trading on Friday, moving to a 2% premium. ...

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