Derek Pain: Now the annual report is threatened by the rush to online

No Pain, No Gain

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. After the determined but so far unsuccessful campaign to eliminate paper share certificates another hard copy investment asset is under attack – the printed yearly report and accounts.

A little known organisation called the Financial Reporting Council is at the forefront of this latest craziness. The expense, usage of paper and even the carrying weight inflicted on the poor old postman are among the factors cited in support of the abolition of the printed report. It is estimated that between seven and nine million shareholders prefer paper certificates. I would imagine those requiring hard copies of reports is much greater. The FRC believes all investors are happy to go on line to read about their company.

What nonsense. I suspect most are capable of doing so, if they so desire. But don't forget around ten million do not use computers and many of them are bound to be investors. How on earth are they going to be accommodated? Will they be left isolated, probably forced to sell their shares? It is, I suppose, old folk, like me, who most resent the internet intrusion. Yet we do collectively own part of a company and as proprietors should, if we want, receive printed reports. I also wonder about the reaction of the companies concerned. Many regard yearly reports as part of their promotional activities. In hard copy they are far more effective than in online form. I have recently received paper reports from Avon Rubber, Marston's and Mitchells & Butlers. All are presentable affairs, seeking to promote the company. Any business that is worried about cost can always produce a cheaper abridged version.

The FRC, and some other City organisations, seem remote from the real world. Cutting costs and to hell with the consequences seems to be their main objective. They do not consider the needs of people they are supposed to encourage. The FRC says it wants to promote "high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment". Of course, investors should be able to use the internet if they want. But suggesting all of them should be forced to embrace it seems contrary to the stated aims. It all resembles the drive to abolish paper share certificates, that will no doubt be resurrected, and the plan to eliminate cheques. The anti-cheque brigade will ignore the simple fact that 37 million people signed cheques in the past year. Progress is necessary but not at the expense of the needs of so many.

Now to a couple of companies that I hope will come out against the abolition of printed reports (the deadline to object is the end of March). Following the departure of and Private & Commercial Finance from the no pain, no gain portfolio, I have, as signalled, descended on Avation (90p) and Capital Pub Co. (120p). Both shares have made headway since I indicated my interest but I feel the portfolio can live with the gains they have achieved.

Avation, which leases aircraft to airlines, moved from Plus to full listing in October. It owns 51.8 per cent of Capital Lease, an AIM-traded leasing group. On Monday, the shares jumped 15.5p flowing a lease deal with two Australian airlines covering 18 aircraft. Naturally I am disappointed I did not embark on the shares ahead of the tie-up.

Capital has around 30 pubs, in and around London, and has its sights on establishing a 50-strong chain in the next few years. With royal events scheduled, plus the Olympic Games, London is in for a busy time which should benefit hospitality groups including another constituent, Whitbread.

Recent encouraging interim figures – adjusted profits up 45 per cent at £2m – suggest that the group is heading in the right direction. Stockbroker Panmure Gordon rates the shares a buy.

I am thinking, as I said two weeks ago, about instituting more portfolio changes. But it is foolish to rush into buying shares even if delay, as illustrated by Avation and Capital, costs a few pounds. Buying small caps can be tricky and it is better to be safe than sorry. The portfolio is not a trading vehicle but a buy and hold operation. Still, by its standards, recent activity, four constituents out and two in, has been quite hectic.

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

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

    £22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most