loose change

Proshare, the non profit-making organisation to promote wider share ownership has negotiated a series of deals which will allow new members to trade shares at discount commission rates through Fidelity, NatWest Stockbrokers and Birmingham-based ShareLink.

Membership costs UK residents pounds 34.95 for a year if paid by direct debit, or pounds 39.95 otherwise. Overseas residents pay another pounds 15. Call 0171-394- 5200 or write to Library Chambers, 13/14 Basinghall St., London EC2 for application forms.

Fidelity will offer new Proshare members up to pounds 35 off the commission on the first trade if they open a Stockbroking Service or Stockbroking Plus account, or off the cost of the first trade after opening a Fidelity ActiveTrader Account (which offers special low rates to investors who trade at least 25 times a year in UK securities), plus a 50 per cent discount on the first year's service fee.

Natwest Stockbrokers offers a 10 per cent discount on dealing charges through its BrokerLine telephone dealing service plus a 20 per cent discount on the annual fee for its advice service, access to its research news sheets and discounts on the bank's will and executive services.

ShareLink is offering a pounds 50 cashback for ProShare members who open a self-select PEP or transfer an existing PEP to a new Premier PEP. There is also a 30 per cent discount on Premier's new issue bulletin..

The AITC and ShareLink are launching a new low-cost execution-only share dealing service, called Share-IT, for investors wanting to buy or sell investment trust shares. There is no charge to set up the account, the dealing charge is 1 per cent up to pounds 2,500 with a pounds 10 minimum, falling to 0.75 per cent between pounds 2,500 and pounds 5,000 and a maximum of pounds 45 on deals up to pounds 75,000. Details on 0121-200-4591.

If another US fashion crosses the Atlantic stand by for a specialised UK unit trust targeted at gays and investing only in gay-friendly companies. The Meyers, Sheppard Pride Fund will not invest in companies unless they have a progressive policy towards gays and lesbians, says Shelly Meyers, the fund's portfolio manager. She has identified 400 US companies that meet its requirements, such as operating policies of non-discrimination and offering benefits to partners of gay employees. Among them are American Express and Time Warner.

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