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Eric Chalker's Blog - RSS Feed

Eric Chalker's Blog


Insulting behaviour at Interserve plc

 Some boards of directors reach out to their private investors.  Others demonstrate contempt.  The latest shocking example of the latter coming to my notice is the board of Interserve plc, chaired by Mr Glyn Barker.  It has called a meeting for 8.0 am (yes, really), one purpose of which is to exonerate directors for a breach of the company’s rules.

  There can be no justification for calling any general meeting at such an early hour.  The chairman hasn’t attempted to provide one, even when asked to do so.  It is nothing but insulting to those who have invested in his company.  General meetings should not be called at a time which only suits the directors and those who work close by.  This is a particularly shocking example of how the needs of private investors are ignored, either carelessly or deliberately.  All meetings for any company’s shareholders should be no earlier than can be comfortably reached by the majority of those travelling from home, which in London means no earlier than 10.30 and preferably 11.00.


Blog Calendar


EMIS Group plc

 This is a company in which, as I write, I hold some shares.  They were bought on a professional recommendation and that source (plus one other) is currently saying ‘hold’, but I’m not sure I will.  The share price suffered a sharp fall in January, from which it has yet to recover and the question is, have the reasons for this been adequately addressed and all appropriate action taken?


Investing for children

It is a natural human desire to bestow money on children and grandchildren.  How best to do so can seem challenging.  There are ‘products’ available to make it seem easy, but these come with disadvantages and, in my opinion, should be avoided.  These include Junior ISAs and all forms of ‘bare trust’ that automatically give large sums of money to 18 year olds.


What do you get if your SIPP or ISA provider goes bust?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been reviewing this question, but the answer just now is, “Less than you might want.”  It will depend, of course, on how much you lose, but if you have to resort to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) there are compensation limits.  The maximum compensation for lost cash is £85,000, which might seem adequate.  But for company shares which you think you own and then discover you don’t, the maximum claim is for £50,000, which could be very inadequate indeed. 


Will this be the end of share ownership?

This is the month, January 2018, when the EU wanted to begin abolishing share certificates.  Thanks to George Osborne and his Treasury team, it was put back to January 2023, but is now mandatory for all EU members.  Britain is leaving the EU, but the necessary changes have already begun and it seems inconceivable that they will be stopped.  If the changes go the wrong way, no individual will be able to own listed company shares after the end of 2024, or even sooner than that.


How to value companies

   It is not unusual at Christmas time to come across book recommendations, but probably not to see one recommending a book on accountancy.  Even so, this is the subject today – recommended reading for those who would like to be better investors.  The book is “Accounting and Business Valuation Methods,” written by a leading member of the UK Shareholders’ Association, Malcolm Howard.


Greatland Gold, great excitement

With 3,000 share posts on this website alone in the last 7 days, excitement is evident.  However, those who attended yesterday’s AGM may now be rethinking their positions.  It’s not that there’s a lack of value, but expectations of becoming rich overnight are suffering a setback and this can be seen in some of the share chat. 


Boardroom Secrecy ? how far should it go?

Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, is leaving under circumstances which are being challenged by a major investor.  It appears that he is bound by a non-disclosure agreement not to explain the reasons for his unexpectedly early retirement.  Why should investors be prevented from having this information?

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