Derek Pain: Low-tech shareholders could soon be driven to extinction
Saturday 21 June 2014
I have often complained about the suffering of small, traditional shareholders in this high-tech, allegedly cost-effective age. The investors I have in mind still deal via the telephone and require paper share certificates. They are a declining breed with, its seems, every City big gun empowered to exterminate them.
There are no indications that their lot will improve. Deterioration is more likely. Share certificates remain under threat, with the meddling European Union seemingly intent on putting them out of existence. And although online dealing has dramatically reduced the cost of share transactions, the traditional shareholder is still subjected to often extraordinary payments. I realise dealing with us is more time consuming and costly, but from what I hear some of the charges extracted are quite exorbitant.
There is no doubt the internet has sharply increased the City's news flow. For example free online services like ADVFN can keep anyone informed about a company's stated activities and share performance. Yet many people miss out as they have yet to be captivated by the allure of computers. Indeed, any offline shareholder probably hears from a shareholding once a year – when the annual report flops through the letter box.
Some firms do acknowledge that not all their shareholders are wired up. One in that category is the insurance broker Brightside, a constituent of the no pain, no gain portfolio which has – by post – kept shareholders informed about current takeover developments.
Progress, I suppose, is essential. But for the small, traditional player, the high-tech age reinforces the words of Patrick Hutber, once a leading City editor. A few decades ago he opined that "progress means deterioration". For the marginalised small investor, suffering from an acute lack of shareholder democracy, his words ring painfully true.
And make no mistake, as the Financial Conduct Authority chief Martin Wheatley recently made clear, the technology revolution has far to go. For the small traditional player, the death knell could be just a few years away.
Two portfolio constituents have reported encouraging trading updates. Avation, the aircraft lessor, expects current year net revenue to rise 29 per cent to $55m (£32m) with pre-tax profits gaining some 25 per cent to $17.5m The group's shares, as I write, are below their peak at 133p. The portfolio paid 83.5p.
Spirit Pub Co shares are also short of their high at 76.5p, compared with the portfolio's 42p. Yet managed pub sales in the 12 weeks to 24 May were up 6 per cent with the figure for a 40-week period 5.2 per cent. Leased pub net turnover grew by 3 per cent during the 40 weeks.
Finally, portfolio followers may be expecting comments about the star performer, the Booker cash-and -carry chain. The shares have, since hitting a 176.5p peak in April, experienced a torrid time; the price is now 129p. Negativity from giant investment house Goldman Sachs is partly responsible. There is also the impact of the supermarket price war.
There could be a growing temptation for the group's retailer customers to at least do some of their shopping at supermarkets instead of cash and carry warehouses. Also, the supermarket assault on convenience stores could be hurting its customers. Chairman Richard Rose expects increasing price competition throughout this year, although in the first seven weeks, trading was ahead of 2013. Next month's shareholders meeting should offer further clues about any supermarket squeeze.
Derek Pain: I'm cautious, but remain one of the few bulls in the market
Donald MacInnes: Who would want to be a Barbie girl in a non-Barbie world?
Mark Dampier: How to get an income now that savings are past the 'use by' date
Thousands of UK investors could lose out following collapse of Secured Energy Bonds
Bargain Hunter: Fly off for a winter break in France or Portugal for well under £100
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
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