Derek Pain: Anglo Pacific – the one that got away for this portfolio

Isuppose every investor has suffered from selling a share that subsequently soared into the stratosphere. The no pain, no gain portfolio's major humiliation is a mining group called Anglo Pacific. Each time I come across the shares – and sod's law dictates that my encounters occur quite frequently – I berate my luck.

Lady Fortune is often an important influence in investing, although I am not putting it forward as an excuse for what must be the most lamentable decision I have taken since the portfolio was born in 1999.

Anglo was an early recruit and, if memory serves, the shares arrived at 16p. They are now around 240p, having topped 250p. Embarrassingly, I even managed to make a loss – selling at 15p.

If I had held on – even for a few years – the portfolio's performance would have been transformed. Nowadays it nurses an overall profit of some £100,000. Assuming Anglo had remained a constituent for all the portfolio's 11 years of existence it would be sitting on a gain of around £170,000. Investment, like our national sport, can be a funny old game.

Anglo gets much of its revenue from royalties on its coal mining interests in Australia and Canada. It also has gold links and takes in a talc deposit in the Shetland Islands.

It is a clear beneficiary of the resources boom and has played the game rather cleverly, largely confining its interests to minority stakes and royalties. A determination to play safe and operate in areas where the risk of political upset is low has also proved wise.

A few weeks ago I advocated the necessity for buy-and-hold investors to exercise patience. Obviously I wish I had taken my own advice in the case of Anglo. But I didn't and there is no point in back jobbing.

Still, the latest stock market gyrations emphasise the importance of the buy-and-hold brigade putting its collective head down and letting the flak fly over. The investment scene has always been volatile. It is, however, much more jumpy these days with global influences stronger than in the past.

Investment, thanks to the advent of computers and online trading, is now so complex and sophisticated that it is more prone to calamitous upsets; witness the near 1,000 points fall in just 20 minutes that occurred on Wall Street last week.

Regulators may move to curb high-tech excesses but they are, invariably, several steps behind the new breed of computer experts. One early outward sign of their impotence was when a powerful computerised hedge fund hit trouble in the late 1990s, threatening untold mayhem. Nowadays we are still living with the disastrous impact of the credit crunch which caught inept regulators – and politicians – on the hop.

Progress in the conduct of investment is, of course, wonderful. It can make many aspects much easier; perhaps more transparent. But abuse and incompetence are also encouraged.

I am not suggesting there is any case for reviving the old face-to-face stock jobbing system. Nevertheless it may have avoided some of the dramatic, quick-fire swings we have experienced since the City's "big bang".

Despite the obstacles afflicting the stock market, such as the Greek tragedy, the euro uncertainty and our own election fiasco (plus that enormous deficit), there is a surprisingly strong swell of optimism. Quite a few experts expect shares to resume their upward march.

Even so, small investors should be prepared for increasingly difficult times. I am not referring to stock market movements but to the desire of our self-appointed "masters" to enforce the ramifications of this high-tech age on unwilling individuals. The ill-considered campaign to do away with paper share certificates is never far away. And there appears to be unrelenting pressure on shareholders to adopt electronic links with their companies, including dividend payments.

More and more companies are urging them to give up the postal system. Most seem to use the inertia technique, demanding that shareholders apply to retain the right to receive hard copy communications. If they don't respond they are dumped into the internet pool, whether they like it or not. Many investors have no desire to operate online, but they are in danger of being overwhelmed in the unethical stampede to computerise all aspects of investment.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn