Regulations and Law

Pension Fund Hedging and the Bond Market

The Bank of England had to step into purchase gilts yesterday (28th September) after the bond market looked like collapsing totally. Some £65 billion was spent to do it. This has created panic and uncertainty in the financial community and even affected equity markets. I will give my comments on these events although I certainly do not claim to have any knowledge of pension scheme management and bond markets. So please correct me if I get it wrong. Defined benefit pension schemes buy ...

Interest Rate Sanity and Chancellor’s Announcements

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. The Bank of England’s announcement of an increase in base rate to 2.25% was just one step in a return to sanity. With inflation nearing 10% why would any idiot lend money at 5% or less as many mortgage providers have been doing. In reality the last few years have seen lower interest rates than have been available for the last 5,000 years. This has been ...

Financial Ombudsman and FCA considered lacking, plus defective Insolvency Regime

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. The stock markets are in turmoil now everyone is back from their holidays and facing up to the realisation that with high inflation and looming recessions the stock market may not be the best place to be for investors. I have moved more into cash and more defensive shares but cash is not the place to be for very long when inflation is eroding its ...

Transparency Task Force Attacks FCA and Sophisticated Investor/HNWI Status

This article represents the views of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Following on from the BBC Panorama programme on the Blackmore Bond scandal the Transparency Task Force have launched an attack on the competence of the Financial Conduct Authority – see https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/letters-to-mps-about-blackmore-bond/. It includes a letter you can send to your Member of Parliament asking for some reform. I agree with most of their recommendations on how matters can be improved. One issue I would also raise is that the Panorama ...

Panorama Attacks FCA over Mini-Bond Failures

This article represents the views of its author and not necessarily those of Sharesoc. The BBC’s Panorama programme last night (on 16/8/2022) did a good job of pointing out the failure of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to prevent fraud on investors in “mini-bonds”. In this case the focus was on the collapse of Blackmore Bond where 2,000 people lost £46m when the company collapsed. But there have been several other similar cases. Mini-bonds are unregulated investments so should only be sold to ...

Gore Street Energy Fund Dividend Waiver and Directors’ Jobs

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. At the forthcoming Annual General Meeting of Gore Street Energy Storage Fund (GSF) in addition to the usual resolutions shareholders are asked to approve a whitewash of the illegal past payments of dividends (resolution 15). This regularly happens when a company fails to file a statement of distributable reserves at Companies House showing it has sufficient reserves to cover the dividend. It seems to happen ...

Austin Review of Capital Raising and Dematerialisation

This article represents the views of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. It’s the mid-summer doldrums in the stock market and with investors having more time on their hands, what better time to issue a 265 page document entitled “UK Secondary Capital Raising Review” (see link below). This document covers a number of very important issues to investors after a review by Mark Austin as Chair of a committee that has looked at the way the UK stock market operates ...

Prospectus Publishers off the Hook

This article represents the views of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. The Government has published how it proposes to reform the Prospectus Regime. Among the welcome changes are the ability to omit a prospectus when shares are being issued to those who already hold equity securities in the offering company, subject to certain conditions, including that the offer is made pro-rata to a person's existing holding. The need for a prospectus introduced a costly barrier to the issue of shares ...

A Bumper Edition of Investors Chronicle

The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Over the Christmas period we were treated to a bumper edition of the Investors’ Chronicle. And I have to say that this magazine has improved of late under the editorship of Rosie Carr. Whether she has a bigger budget or is just picking better writers I do not know but she certainly deserved the job after working for the magazine for many years. I’ll pick out ...

Discrimination Against High Net Worth Individuals?

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc The cost of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme has been increasing substantially in recent years, as more mis-selling scandals have proliferated and firms have gone bust. This has led to complaints from those firms who fund the scheme and has led the FCA to undertake a “Compensation Framework Review”. This includes looking at possible changes to the scope of protection such as limiting it to “mainstream” ...