VCTs

VCT News

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 ...

Albion – Yet another VCT problem case

Albion Venture Capital Trust plc is proposing to rebase the incentive fee for its investment manager. The proposal looks too generous and will result in far too much of the value going to the managers and too little to shareholders. The new proposed threshold of RPI plus 2% is too low and the 20% share is too high. It would be very bad precedent if this was passed and became the norm for other VCTs. I recommend shareholders attend the AGM ...

Bonmarché Update, FCA Grilling over Woodford and Amati AIM VCT AGM

Yesterday Bonmarché (BON) conceded defeat in its opposition to a takeover bid at 11.4p. On the 17th May it had rejected the bid because it “materially undervalues Bonmarché and its prospects”. The share price of this women’s clothing retailer was over 100p a year ago but the latest trading review suggests sales are dire because of underlying weakness in the clothing market and “a lack of seasonal weather”. Auditors might have qualified the accounts due to be published soon due to ...

VCT Investor Group – Ventus & Ventus 2 VCT Shareholder Resolutions

Examples of egregious fee structures and of passive directors are to be found in many VCTs (Venture Capital Trusts). ShareSoc and its members campaign to try to rein in the worst offenders, see https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/vct-investors-group/ Our principal objectives are: To provide best practice guidelines on management fees, performance fees, directors’ tenure and independence. To provide advice for investors on specific VCTs by Identifying existing holders willing to work with others to share knowledge, to identify areas of concern and to make ...

Broker Charges, Proven VCT Performance Fee and LoopUp Seminar

The Share Centre are the latest stockbroker to increase their fees. The monthly fee for an ISA account is going up by 4.2% to £5.00 per month with increases on ordinary share accounts and SIPPs also. This is the latest of a number of fee increases among stockbrokers and retail investor platforms. The Share Centre blame the required investment in technology development and “an increasing burden of financial regulation”. The latter is undoubtedly the result of such regulations as MIFID II ...

Big Audit Firm Break-Up and Northern VCT AGM

A report commissioned by the Labour Party has advocated the break-up of the big four audit firms that dominate the audits of FTSE-350 firms. The report, co-authored by Prof. Prem Sikka et al, even goes so far as to suggest that their share of that market should be limited to 50% and that joint audits be promoted. In addition it argues that audit firms should be banned from doing non-audit work for the same company, and an independent body to appoint audit ...

CAKE (Patisserie), Foresight 4 VCT AGM, Payment Companies and Dunelm

More bad news from Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) today – well at least you can’t say the directors are not keeping you informed about their dire situation which is not always the case in such circumstances. Yesterday the company announced that its major operating company had received a winding-up petition from HMRC, of which the directors had only recently become aware. Today the company said after further investigation the board has reached the conclusion that without an “immediate injection of capital, the Directors ...