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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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Rensburg AIM VCT Wind-up covered in the FT

There was an interesting article in the FTMoney edition yesterday (6/6/2015) on the proposed wind up of Rensburg AIM VCT Plc. The board of directors are pushing ahead with this proposal and a General Meeting to approve it is scheduled with the AGM on the 22nd July. The FT article by Adam Palin points out that anyone who claimed capital gains roll-over relief on their original investment in the VCT may not wish to support the wind-up. It quotes me (as a ...

Issuing More Shares in Investment Trusts – Finsbury Gr. & Inc. et al

Now that many investment trusts trade at a premium to their net assets value, it has become commonplace for them to issue more shares so as to "meet demand" as they tend to say. The latest example of this is at Finsbury Growth & Income Trust Plc (FGT) which is one of the better performing trusts. Other examples of those who do it regularly are City of London Investment Trust and City Merchants High Yield Trust. In the case of  Finsbury they ...

The Wonders of LTIPs, Pay at WPP and the Sprue Aegis AGM

Yesterday (3/6/2015), I attended the Annual General Meeting of Sprue Aegis (SPRP). Before discussing what was said at that meeting, it's worth reviewing a recently issued report by the High Pay Centre entitled "No Routine Riches".  It's a devastating critique of how the existing systems of "performance related pay" for directors has worked. To quote from the report: "We have looked at the growing complexity of awards that has pushed directors’ pay into the stratosphere, and found there is little discernible link ...

PLUS500 – the Last Word (Hopefully)

I have been meaning to write something on Plus500, an Israeli based provider of CFD trading, for some time. This may be the last opportunity. It is listed on AIM and was discussed at the last ShareSoc Masterclass in Peterborough, with different opinions on it from panel members. Today (1/6/2015) it has become the subject of an agreed cash offer from Playtech at 400p per share, which surely investors in the company will accept. They may be happy to get out ...

Enormous Costs of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Legal Action

There was an interesting article by Geoff Ho in the Sunday Express yesterday (31/5/2015) on the law suit being pursued by shareholders against RBS. He reports that the RBoS Shareholders Action Group was presented with a bill for £1.2 million by its former solicitors Bird & Bird and a demand for "prompt payment" after they changed lawyers to Fladgate following concerns over costs and communication. Indeed the original demand was even higher but was subsequently reduced.  Fladgate are working on a ...

What is Personal Crest Membership?

What is Personal Crest Membership and why should I use it are questions I am often asked. This article aims to supply the answers to those questions. Personal Crest Membership is one of the three ways in which you can hold shares as a retail client of a UK based stockbroker. The three ways are in a nominee account, as a paper share certificate and as a Personal Crest Member.  Very briefly these are the disadvantages of the first two methods (more ...

Chinese AIM Companies – Sorbic et al

A good letter in the Financial Times today (29/5/2015) from Sorbic investor John Gunn about how AIM rules have failed to protect shareholders. He said it is "a terrible state of affairs" and suggested the AIM regulations had failed completely to protect shareholders. Sorbic International (SORB) is an AIM listed Chinese company which has encountered major governance and legal problems and its shares have been suspended. To quote from the latest RNS, after the board fired Mr Wang Yan Ting, the CEO: "Since ...

Custodian Reit – It always pays to ask

A note from Mark Bentley: I have been a shareholder in the Custodian REIT (AIM:CREI) since its original flotation in March 2014. It has “done what it says on the tin”, investing in numerous small sized, high yielding commercial properties, to generate income, resulting in an attractive and growing dividend stream for investors. Given the low level of target gearing (25% of NAV), this is a low-risk strategy I find attractive, in this era of negligible interest rates. In January 2015 the ...

ShareSoc Company Seminar Announcement

The line-up for our next seminar at which public companies will be presenting on the 17th June is now available and registrations are now open. This event is in the City of London, with registration starting at 4.00 pm. Four companies will be presenting this month and answering your questions, which are: - MERCIA TECHNOLOGIES (MERC): An investment company focussed on growth technology businesses. - IDEAGEN (IDEA): Compliance based information management software. - ESCHER GROUP (ESCH): Provider of retail and message based software solutions. Plus one other company to be advised at a ...

Shareholder Friendly Approach from HarbourVest

For once it is good to see a company actively reach out to engage with its shareholders, something ShareSoc applauds and encourages. HarbourVest Global Private Equity (HVPE) is a Guernsey registered investment trust, which invests primarily in global private equity funds-of-funds, managed by an affiliate of Boston based HarbourVest Partners LLC. It is a substantial trust with a market cap. in excess of $1bn. It is currently listed on the specialist funds market of the LSE, but has been planning a move ...
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