Oxfam to take a share for charity

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The Independent Online
THE CHARITY Oxfam has launched a new scheme in which it hopes to raise 'hundreds of thousands of pounds' through a share dealing service.

The Birmingham-based stock-broker ShareLink is writing to Oxfam's 60,000 regular donors telling them about the Oxfam Fair Share Offer. People who want to sell some shares can simultaneously make a pounds 2.70 donation to Oxfam if they deal through ShareLink.

The scheme, which runs as a postal service, applies only to 35 different stocks, but these include the privatisations and Abbey National. There will be a minimum dealing commission of pounds 15 - of which pounds 12.70 will go to ShareLink and the remainder to the charity. For share sales where the proceeds are more than pounds 1,200, an extra 1 per cent on the amounts above pounds 1,200 will be added to the basic pounds 15 charge.

ShareLink was set up in 1987 to be the telephone execution-only stockbroker to the man and woman in the street. The Share Centre in Tring, Hertfordshire, has subsequently done the same thing, except that it markets itself as a postal service. The Share Centre charges a minimum of pounds 10 per deal for FT-SE 100 companies and privatised stock. Dealing rates for these are calculated at 1 per cent for deals up to pounds 2,000. As with other brokers, the rate decreases as the deal gets larger.

The leading banks all offer their own stockbroking services although these tend to be more expensive than ShareLink and the Share Centre. This month Co-operative Bank announced that it would be offering an execution- only service in its 100 branches through the stockbrokers Walter Lunniss, the broking subsidiary of Norwich and Peterborough Building Society. Commission rates start at 1.5 per cent for deals below pounds 5,000, with a pounds 20 minimum.

The Co-op commission rates compare favourably with those from most of the other banks. Midland Bank charges 1.5 per cent commission on deals below pounds 7,000. Lloyds, National Westminster and Royal Bank of Scotland all have a starting rate of 1.65 per cent. Barclays charges 2 per cent commission on its execution-only service, subject to a minimum of pounds 15.

The banks are trying to encourage their execution-only branch clients to take their advisory services direct from their broking arms. A Barclays spokesman spoke about a new generation of 'SuperSids' who are now getting the benefit of their share options. Barclays is marketing its portfolio and advisory services to share-owners whom it categorises as SuperSids and Henrys.

NatWest similarly believes that more people will begin switching to its telephone dealing and advisory services. A spokesman said: 'There is definitely a trend for people having more of an awareness of the stock market. The easiest way to learn is to speak directly to stockbrokers.'

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