VCTs

VCT News

Trouble Brewing at Hargreave Hale AIM VCT?

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. I have been a shareholder in Hargreave Hale AIM VCT (HHV) for quite some time and have been happy with the tax free dividend stream they have sent me over the years. As usual, I recently received the AGM proxy form for the 3rd February AGM and was reviewing the annual report when something caught my attention. An investee company called Honest Brew (HB), which ...

Baronsmead VCT – More Corporate Governance Issues

The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. I mentioned in a previous blog post that covered Northern Venture Trust that “VCTs are a perpetual problem in relation to excessive management fees, poor corporate governance, and general behaviour prejudicial to the interests of shareholders”. Now we have an AGM for Baronsmead VCT (BVT) in prospect on the 16th February. As a holder I will be expressing the following concerns to the Chairman: In the ...

Northern Venture Trust and Other VCTs

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Northern Venture Trust (NVT) recently published their Annual Report. It shows that the manager (now Mercia) collected a performance fee of £2.5 million which on my calculation raised the overall fees and expenses as a percentage of closing net asset value to 4.5%. This is way too high in my opinion even allowing for the work involved in managing a portfolio of small, unlisted investments. When ...

Core VCT – another messy VCT

It is some time since ShareSoc mentioned the Core VCTs in 2015, https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/company-news/governance-in-investment-trusts-alliance-trust-baronsmead-vct-3-and-the-core-vcts/ but due to the hard work behind the scenes by Nigel Sommerville, Tim Grattan, Robin Goodfellow and others, it looks like progress is about to happen. Nigel has written up the latest developments with ShareProphets click here to read (it is free - outside their paywall) https://www.shareprophets.com/views/59458/core-vcts-a-vote-is-called-if-you-or-someone-you-know-held-these-then-please-read The Times wrote about Core on 7 Dec https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/investor-sues-over-cheap-asset-sales-n0wkxqk3f (behind a paywall). Cliff Weight, ShareSoc, Director DISCLOSURE: I have never owned shares in Core. I have ...

When is a concert party not a concert party?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Today’s RNS from GHE (Gresham House plc) who own Gresham House Asset Management...

Changes to KIDs Proposed by the FCA

Yet another public consultation issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in mid-summer is one on KIDs (Key Information Documents). This is relevant to private investors and is designated CP21/23 – see link below. KIDs are imposed and regulated under the PRIIPs regulation as devised by the EU for packaged investment products such as funds and trusts. KIDs give basic financial information, risk indicators and likely future performance based on past performance. Those who purchase investment trusts for example will be asked ...

Voting Against Directors at Greggs and MAV4

Greggs (GRG) held their Annual General Meeting today. This was a “closed” meeting but with no electronic access provided. Bearing in mind the size of the company, it seems unreasonable that they could not have provided shareholder access. But I note that the votes reported show that several directors received substantial votes against. For example Ian Durant at 4.8% and Sandra Turner at 7.7%. I wonder why? There were also substantial numbers of votes withheld but no explanation has been given. One advantage ...

Laggard Long Serving Directors and Maven VCT

I have long complained about directors serving on boards for longer than 9 years. The UK Corporate Governance Code (which you can easily find on the web) says any director who serves for more than 9 years cannot be considered “independent” and there should be a majority of independent directors. When the UK Corporate Governance Code was drafted, this principle of avoiding long-serving directors was introduced and I consider it a very sound principle. But investment trusts (including Venture Capital Trusts) continue ...

Ventus and Ventus 2 VCT – UPDATE

ShareSoc led a campaign fronted by Nick Curtis at the August 2019 AGM to remove the directors and institute governance changes.  There had been concerns from shareholders around the length of director service, investment management fees, performance fee calculations and high management costs. Whilst the majority of the directors remained, Paul Thomas, the Temporis representative, was removed and given the high level of shareholder dissatisfaction (at nearly 50% of the vote) Nick Curtis was asked to go on the board of Ventus.  ...

Chrysalis – Vote NO at 26 November General Meeting

Shareholders are excluded from this GM and there is no pre-meeting webinar to discuss these highly contentious proposals to wind up the VCT and distribute any monies raised (less administration fees, including payments to the failing fund manager and some directors). Several members of the ShareSoc VCT Investor Group (including Tim Grattan, Mark Lauber, Roger Lawson and myself) met on 10 Nov to discuss Chrysalis' plans. Our conclusion was that shareholders should vote against these proposals for the following reasons: Chrysalis is ...