VCTs

VCT News

Are VCTs Worth the Risks, and 40-Year Mortgages?

The FT Money supplement on Saturday ran a big article on Venture Capital Trusts which was headlined “Are VCTs worth the risks for higher earners?”. As a long-standing investor in such companies, having first invested in some in 1995 soon after they were launched, it made for interesting reading. It seems that wealthy investors are flocking to these funds due to the generous tax breaks and now there are few other good alternatives so the amount invested in them reached near record ...

City of London IT, Equals Interims, Paypoint CEO, Downing One VCT and Parliamentary Pandemonium

Having been away on holiday in the North of England last week, this is a catch up on news that impacted my portfolio. I received the Annual Report for City of London Investment Trust (CTY) which is one of my most boring holdings. This is large cap equity growth/income trust managed for many years by Job Curtis and I have held since 2011 – it seems longer. Total return last year was 2.7% which beat most of the comparable indices. But a ...

3i – Well Managed and Well Incentivised

The 8 times increase in the 3i share price in the past 10 years means that 3i is one of the largest holdings in my portfolio. So I thought I ought to read the annual report of this £11 billion market cap company. CEO Simon Borrows has accumulated £160 million of 3i shares and is therefore very well aligned with shareholders. His annual pay is around the £7 million mark, but most of this is performance based and paid in shares. He ...

EDGE – Another VCT Problem Case

At this years AGM on 28 Aug 2109, 3 directors were voted out, Sir Robin Miller, Lord Flight and David Glick. ShareSoc has been critical of this VCT for some time, see https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/vcts/edge-performance-vct-the-worst-show-on-earth/ https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/vcts/edge-vct-trick-treat-pair-rnss/ https://www.sharesoc.org/agm-reports/edge-performance-vct/ https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/company-news//a-couple-of-problem-vcts-foresight-4-and-edge-performance/ Shareholder dissent continued and at this years AGM on 28 Aug 2109, 3 directors were voted out, Sir Robin Miller, Lord Flight and David Glick and various other motions were defeated. Proxy votes cast were as follows: Resolution For Against Withheld 2. Approve directors' remuneration report 1,770,628 3,106,545 47,968 3. Re-elect Sir Robin Miller 1,725,784 3,140,268 59,089 4. Re-elect Lord Flight 1,659,996 3,206,056 59,089 5. Re-elect David Glick 1,715,071 3,183,421 26,649 6. Re-appoint Grant Thornton UK LLP as auditor 2,147,140 2,751,352 26,649 8. Authorise directors ...

Albion Venture Capital VCT (AAVC) AGM Result and Actions

30% of shareholders opposed the increase in fees at the AAVC AGM. This is a remarkable result and sends a strong signal to the directors that they need to better engage with their shareholders. I think the % voting against would have been higher if: we had started our campaign earlier we had received the shareholder register earlier we had been able to get in touch with all shareholders prior to the AGM the directors had not sent out a letter to ...

Voting Problems, Computershare, Albion Venture Capital and PLAIN ENGLISH.

By Cliff Weight Computershare have refused to accept a vote instruction for the Albion Venture Capital AGM, because it was sent to them electronically. It was signed, scanned and sent to them by email. They say that the meeting notice says what form the instruction must be sent and this overrides the Companies Act, CA2006 S333. The notice says the instruction must be sent to Computershare, but does not say how (see below for the precise wording used). In this modern age, surely ...

Albion Venture Capital Trust PLC and Ventus funds

The Albion Venture Capital AGM is on Wed 21 Aug. Cliff Weight, Mark Lauber, Tim Grattan and others will be attending and asking questions. I finally received the Albion Venture Capital register on 16 August 2019. However, Albion Venture Capital VCT Chair Richard Glover wrote to all 5,300 shareholders on 15 August. Many were sent emails but the copy of the register we were given did not have email addresses, so we were unable to email shareholders. In the time available ...

Ventus VCT AGMs – A Disappointing Result, National Grid and Sports Direct

I have mentioned previously the attempt by a shareholder in the Ventus VCTs (VEN and VEN2) to start a revolution, i.e. replace all the directors and appoint new ones. See https://tinyurl.com/y6e5fafo . Nick Curtis was the leader of the revolt but at the AGMs on the 8th August the required resolutions were narrowly defeated with one exception. This was after the boards of these companies paid a proxy advisory service £38,000 to canvas shareholders, which of course shareholders will be paying ...

Albion Venture Capital VCT Blog number 2

Albion want to change the performance fee from the current arrangement (1.9% management fee, plus 8% of returns over a hurdle rate of 5% per annum with a high-water mark) to 20% of returns above a hurdle of RPI +2%p.a., from a new starting point of NAV at 1 April 2019. ShareSoc recommends shareholders vote against this proposal and other resolutions at the AGM on 21 August. 1.9% plus 20% is egregious, particularly when: it represents an increase from historically agreed arrangements and  ...

Ventus and Ventus 2 VCTs– obstacles to a level playing field in unseating directors

By Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director I was pleased to see the highly respected and influential Investors Chronicle taking an interest in and writing a balance article on the Ventus funds, see https://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/comment/2019/07/18/limits-of-influence/ The IC seems to think ShareSoc is leading and driving the campaign, whereas the campaign leader is Nick Curtis, but other than this point I think it is a very good article. What is becoming apparent is how extremely difficult it is to unseat directors, because the playing field is tilted so ...