Derek Pain: Small players could call the tune despite City contempt


Private investors, if only they bandied together, could have a dramatic influence on the stock market.

Surprisingly, they rate as one of the major shareholding groups. There is, of course, little chance of such a diverse bunch of individuals exerting much influence on any of the issues that occupy the City.

I have often berated the Square Mile for its indifference to the small player. Its attitude occasionally borders on contempt. Only last week I complained about the excessive costs that traditional shareholders (dealing by telephone, seeking share certificates and without internet access) encounter.

Yet the potentially powerful position of us little'uns is underlined in a survey conducted by Capita, the share registrars. It seems that individual shareholders now account for 11.3 per cent of UK plc, nearly outstripping, believe it or not, the likes of pension funds and insurers.

With the Isa limit due to be lifted next month the incentive for private shareholders is likely to be strengthened.

The insatiable appetite for the stock market has lifted the total held by individuals to nearly £239bn, only some 3.5 per cent short of the all-time peak achieved ahead of the devastating financial crisis that sent shares crashing.

The biggest stock-market influence is represented by an array of foreign shareholders who account for just over half of British quoted shares.

On average, the big guns hold shares for two years whereas the small player sticks around for five years.

The No Pain, No Gain portfolio has not contributed directly to the march of individual shareholders. Some of its constituents have not been inspired but the three that reported recently have enjoyed success.

Whitbread, the leisure group recruited as the financial upheaval was devastating the investment world, has issued another bullish trading statement. Total sales were up by 12.7 per cent in the first 13 weeks of its year with chief executive Andy Harrison saying the group "is well positioned for another good year with our strong brands continuing to win market share".

The Costa coffee division led the way with a 15.9 per cent sales advance, although the Premier Inn budget hotel chain was not all that far behind with a 14.2 per cent gain. Pub/restaurants managed 5.4 per cent.

The shares, as I write, are a little above 4,4p, below their peak but way ahead of the 1,105p the portfolio paid in 2008. There are various stock-market views about Whitbread. For example, broker Beaufort, saying buy, is impressed with the way the group is capitalising on growing demand for budget hotels and coffee. But another broker, The Share Centre, believes Whitbread's potential is already reflected in the share price and, advising a hold, suggests capital spending will keep the income yield low.

Another leisure company, the Spirit Pub Co. followed up impressive sales figures with an intriguing pub sale. It's no ordinary pub, mind you. The Black Lion in London's Bayswater went for a staggering £27m against a book value of only £7.6m. The pub rolled out operational profits of £700,000 before central costs were considered.

The third constituent is Avation, the aircraft-leasing firm that is pursuing Capital Lease Aviation. It has again increased its stake, this time to 68.85 per cent, by snapping up 2.5 million shares in exchange for a block of its own shares.

Spirit is now 76p against a 42p buying price and Avation flies at 133p (83.5p).

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
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

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Market Risk & Control Manager

    Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam