Sell your stick of Rock
Experts speculate that Northern Rock may be overpriced, says Steve Lodge
Sunday 07 September 1997
The 900,000 savers and borrowers who qualify for the handout, the last planned by a society this year, have just been sent details and have until 26 September to tell the former society what they want to do with their shares.
Qualifying customers are each being given the same 500 shares, regardless of their balances, although around 100,000 mortgage borrowers who also have Northern Rock savings accounts will get two windfalls, a handout that could be worth as much as pounds 4,000.
Stockbrokers are estimating the opening price at up to pounds 4 a share, although a more likely opening level may be around pounds 3.60, putting a value of pounds 1,800 on the handout. But even this may prove a good price to sell at, especially if the stock market should suffer a setback thereafter.
Jeremy Batstone, head of research at NatWest Stockbrokers, says: "The higher the opening price, the better it is to sell." Northern Rock shares could follow investors' experience with the Woolwich in falling soon after they join the stock market. Mr Batstone says Northern Rock could prove "a bit dead in the water" and 260p to 300p might be a "more appropriate" price for the shares.
On this view, shareholders who hang on could miss out on up to pounds 500 or more of potential profits and could face a long wait for the shares to get back up to the opening level.
Windfall recipients have been given a deadline of 26 September to tell the society what they want to do with the shares by returning the appropriate form sent out in the recent mailshot. The choices being given by Northern Rock are to sell through the former society's Initial Share Sale Facility, or opt to keep the shares for now, with or without a share certificate.
The Initial Share Sale Facility is a mass auction arranged by Northern Rock for big City investors due to be held on 30 September though, unlike previous handouts, the society is charging pounds 10 for this service. In the past the auction route has given some windfall recipients a worse deal than if they sold the shares themselves, although Northern Rock hopes to avoid this problem by probably having just a single auction, rather than giving an average price from a series of auctions over several days.
People who want more of an idea of what price their shares are sold at should opt to keep the shares for now. Assuming they meet the 26 September deadline, they should still have their share certificates in time to sell from 1 October, either using the society's own postal share dealing service, or, if they take a share certificate, through any stockbroker. Northern Rock's own share dealing service will cost pounds 10, or pounds 13 if you take a share certificate, which is fairly cheap.
But it only operates by post, so the price you get will be that when your selling instruction is received in the post. To sell instantly at or near a known price, shareholders should opt for a certificate for now, and then use a stockbroker who will take sales over the phone.
Opting for a share certificate will give the maximum flexibility. The arguments for keeping the shares and not selling initially include the fact that Northern Rock is an efficient business and that it might subsequently be bought out at a good price, although this is seen as unlikely in the short-term.
Holders who want to put their shares in a tax-free personal equity plan will need to make sure they get a share certificate. Northern Rock itself does not have a PEP; Fidelity's has been a consistent recommendation of ours (0800 41 41 71). Putting the shares in a Pep will boost the value of future share dividends to taxpayers and will also make the windfall wholly tax-free.
Northern Rock's first dividend is due to be paid next May and is expected to be worth at least pounds 30 before tax - taxpayers who do not PEP their shares will lose at least pounds 6 (pounds 12 if they are higher-rate taxpayers) in tax.
It is worth bearing in mind that selling windfall shares does make the profits potentially liable for capital gains tax, something that could be a problem if you have already sold a number of windfalls or other investments this financial year. If you are in this profit-rich position, putting the shares in a PEP first, then selling them for another investment, will avoid the Northern Rock proceeds being added to any tax bill.
Savers and borrowers due the Northern Rock windfall who have not received details of the handout and options by tomorrow, are advised to call Northern Rock on 0345 44 88 66.
easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou aims to make buying a home easier
Life expectancy calculator will allow people to plan ahead but needs to be handled carefully
Do alternative savings offer happy returns?
How to start your own internet business
The housing market is overheating and it's time to cool off
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
Ukraine crisis: Helicopter gunships take country closer to all-out war
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...
Day In a Page
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds