Derek Pain: It's time to speak up for the 'little guy' investor

 

I have often thought that private investors need a campaigning voice representing their interests. A number of organisations have appeared over the more than half-a-century I have been chronicling the goings-on in the City, but few have made an impact.

An organisation called Wider Share Ownership is probably the most successful of the various institutions that have materialised. It enjoyed its heyday in the Margaret Thatcher privatisation spree which produced the famous (or infamous) "tell Sid" investment slogan.

The Wider Share organisation disappeared a decade ago. However, the recent wave of flotations, with Royal Mail, Saga and TSB encouraging retail participation, has helped persuade the Wealth Management Association to revive the defunct organisation as the Wider Share Ownership Council. Its chairman is Gavin Oldham, the forceful head of the online stockbroker, The Share Centre.

The WSOC will, presumably, fully represent all individual shareholders, not just those who operate via computers. There is much to occupy its attention. For example, discrimination against what I regard as traditional shareholders, those who are not online, still deal via the telephone and want certificates. They are one segment of the investment community that has not enjoyed internet-inspired cut prices and often incur exorbitant charges.

There is also the cold shouldering of private investors in many of the flotations that the City has enjoyed. The absence of small investors from so many new issues is a disgrace and offends the democratic aspirations that are supposed to be part and parcel of the stock market. And let us not forget the power of the big battalions that so often rule the investment roost to the detriment of the individual.

WSOC, already described by some as the "cheerleader" for small players, does promise to look at a range of issues, ranging from regulatory to operational. I hope it soon demonstrates real zeal.

The strength of private investors has increased, with the latest figure suggesting they now represent some 11.3 per cent of the stock market. Their progress should be welcomed by the City that is not renowned for its love of the small player. The fact they now have a voice could, I hope, help to change established attitudes.

Indeed Dr Tim May, chief executive of the WMA, which represents 113 wealth managers and stockbrokers, says: "We must remember that individual investors are typically not speculators but take a long-term interest in a company's behaviour, adding an extra layer of accountability".

Higher limits for Isas should, many believe, encourage the small brigade to continue investing. Yet such thoughts are not apparently confirmed by Isa take-ups that continue to largely embrace cash.

Now to the No Pain, No Gain portfolio. Two constituents have been active. TEG, the environmental group that has so far produced a disappointing performance, has issued a mildly encouraging trading update. But its proposed plant at Gaydon, Warwickshire, remains undeveloped due to "site-related issues".

And Avation, the aircraft leasing group, has had no trouble raising £4.2m through a share placing.

The shares were sold at 140p, compared with a 143.5p price at the time of writing. It seems Standard Life was involved and now has a 6 per cent stake. The cash will be used for pre-delivery payments for additions to a growing fleet.

yourmoney@independent.co.uk

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

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

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

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor