Like I say, so much hassle/expense moving stuff and I can get it to do what I so reasonably priced and functional which I can live with. My SIPP is with Youinvest (AJ Bell) - they just changed their site and it's better but still feels like whoever designed it doesn't use it, but again fully functional if not 100% intuitive. On the plus side, on the very rare occasion I've needed it, the customer support have come back rapidly with sensible answers - nice to feel that the person behind the scene does actually know what they are talking about which is a feeling I never have had from Selftrade or Equiniti.
But my SIPP is there so my ISA can't be - too many eggs in one basket.
FWIW I am also with Selftrade-Equinit and was also with them since Comdirect days. I agree the site seems less intuitive than Selftrade, but Selftrade really peed me off with the pesky Records Review in 2014 at which point they threatened to suspend the account. At least we haven't had that level of hassle under Equiniti. I am also with another broker (Etrade) for Australian shares whose website is even worse. So Equiniti is my best one at the moment and on balance I wouldn't complain about the functionality.
Sad farewell to AML which was one of my better picks over the past decade. I switched to LRE who have been very generous with dividends.
I have also been with them that long - I'd forgotten the name Comdirect! I thought the functionality of the site deteriorated badly when Equinit took over from Selftrade. It's cluncky, not intuitive and the whole presentation is amateurish. I recently moved house and getting that change through was much more difficult than it should have been.
I complained about the site ages ago and no change. When I am less busy I will look around for a better one. Fees are OK but that's the best I can say.
been with them since the old ComDirect days which is going back a few years! Don't think the site is great and it runs slow though that might be my old computer. Don't find it as intuitive as the old SelfTrade one but I can do everything I need to. The only real hiccup has been when I sold shares in my dealing account to fund my ISA, it wouldn't let me transfer the proceeds immediately after the sales - it wanted to wait until settlement which is ridiculous. Had to phone them up and they did it then and there but annoying you can't do it yourself.
Not sure I'd open an account with them if starting from scratch but the service is OK, the fees and reasonable for what I do so I live with it as the hassle and cost of changing is a bit of a barrier. However, should they try increasing their fees or introduce new ones that affect me, the account will be gone in the blink of an eye.
Reluctantly I have sold out 100% of my Amlin shares on the grounds that the price is unlikely to go up, and there is always a small chance the Mitsui deal could collapse for a variety of reasons. As I said in my previous email, I believe the price has been set at a level which dissuades rival offers, hence my pessimism about Mitsui being trumped by another reinsurer. Potential buyer Berkshire Hathaway, for instance, have a policy of not getting involved in bidding wars.
So I have now triggered a personal tax problem, but that was inevitable anyhow. At least the problem originates with having made a great gain on my number two holding.
Besides locking in the gain, what I also like about selling out is that in the unlikely case that the Mitsui deal does fall through, I may have an opportunity to buy back in at a lower price.
Thanks Guitarsolo, there are some 'unknowns to me' there so I will have a look.
I have 25 different holdings at the moment, including NG, NCYF, RDSB, BLT, HSBA, CLLN, GSK and recent initial tranches purchased in ADN, AV. and SSE - all three of which are showing a small profit at the moment (well, EOD, haven't checked today) but the volatility isn't over yet - give it another month, maybe...
HFEL is still on my watchlist, along with a few others (actually, a lot!) including LRE, PHNX, ASHM, ECM and PFL. I would love some RB. and ULVR but not at anything like current prices.
I agree with you regarding DLG and also about the possibility of a Chinese meltdown. I don't think HSBA will go the same way as STAN but anything is possible.
Everything seems risky at the moment. The problem is the alternative is ~ 1.5% in a CD account. I can't live on that! Long term all of the above should be OK I think but my biggest concern is cuts to dividends. Some more than others.
I wasn't referring to anyone on TSCO. Think large financial institution. Don't want to be too specific - feels a bit unfair.
Thanks FRTEB, you're right that a decent amount of FTSE350 companies derive their income overseas, so that's an advantage I agree. I just wish there was more and we didn't keep losing some jewels like Catlin (which I held pre-takeover).
Like you, I am a dividend income seeker and like to have a number of 6%+ payers, well covered, that can increase those dividends gradually. Not easy to find! (My main ones are NG., IMT, HFEL, NCYF, CLIG, CSN, MLIN, RDSB).
You're also spot on about diversification. I'm less diversified than I was a year ago but that's mainly because I have been accumulating cash for a house move and will use further funds coming later to re-diversify. I follow various boards on here and, yes, there a few people who I fear put too much into just a few companies and leave themselves exposed. Are you referring to a poster on TSCO perhaps? If so, I think I know of the chap you refer to and also felt for him as he saw his funds halve. But that's why you don't do it.
As a PI, I would aim to hold approx. 20 companies across a least a dozen sectors. Most are income payers primarily with good records. I'm also weighted more towards the most dependable payers such as NG. and NCYF. I used to say the same about RDSB but am getting a touch nervous about the dependability of its dividend!
There aren't too many high-divi paying non-life insurers left to invest with. LRE in my opinion is paying out too much of its money. ADM and DLG are solid on the domestic lines front I suppose (DLG has been great but may have peaked). CSN is a solid life insurer but is a bit expensive now.
As for other sectors I am struggling:
Oilers: Very uncertain
Miners: Even worse!
Retail: Too competitive
Banks: Waiting for the Great Chinese Meltdown from its shadow banks and debt levels
I am still searching! Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.
Lastly, I have a couple of speculative AIM investments where I am gambling on a large capital gain (PRG and GFM. The former could be a multi-bagger for the brave, but equally might achieve nothing).
Yes, I believe we have been too open for our own good and in the rush to do business overseas we have failed to capitalise (as much as we could have) on the desire by foreign companies and countries to do business with us. In other words, we gave away too much for too little return.
I just see it as a reflection that the once "Great" Britain is becoming less significant in the world. Whether this is part of a more serious terminal decline of UK PLC, I'm not sure. Time will tell. The only saving grace (IMHO) for us as investors is we can be thankful that a sizeable chunk of FTSE350 company earnings are sourced overseas.
We seem to be at the (possible) height of M & A activity (a precursor to a crash?) so with a bit of luck there won't be too many more takeovers. Why? Well as a dividend/value investor I would rather we didn't sell off the family silver, as it were. I held Catlin and made a tidy profit just as I will with Amlin. But I was/am against the takeover(s), just as I was with Astrazeneca. But as a PI there isn't really a damn thing I can do about it other than search for a new income-producing home for the money.
Another aspect of this is the importance of portfolio diversification so if there is a M & A frenzy in one sector, as there seems to be in insurance/re-insurance, then you don't lose such a large chunk of income all in one go. ...I have read some posts on these boards of investors having only a very small handful of large value investments. I know of at least one such person who is now sat on a very, very large paper loss and has also seen his dividend income slashed at the same time. He has gone very quiet. Hopefully he's OK. But it just underscores the need to spread risk by diversifying across sectors and geographically.
The UK is one of the most open countries in the world in terms of allowing overseas companies to own and operate in the UK. This is a good thing even if it is not reciprocated fairly (a big hello to India, China, Brazil etc!).
But I've "lost" a few of my high-divi paying UK non-life insurers recently and it has made me sit up and start thinking about this. I also work in reinsurance so am close to this market. In the last couple of years to name just a few, "we" have sold the following companies to foreigners:
That's to name just a few. Of course, these companies will still operate in the UK - that's why they are being bought - but some of the profits will go to the purchaser's home territory.
But I thought, don't worry. It's swings and roundabouts and I am sure we have plenty of UK companies out there on the acquisition path buying up other profitable companies overseas and doing exactly the same to them. Perhaps, Chesnara bought Waard Group (Dutch) recently but that is small fry.
Tesco is exiting South Korea, our UK banks have been selling off vast chunks of overseas business (e.g. HSBC exits Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil etc). How many of our utilities are now foreign owned?
Perhaps I am a victim of a thought process that fulfils itself. I have a feeling that we're selling off much more than we are buying in, so I focus on news that supports that. I am sure a PhD somewhere has come up with a word for it. Do I recall correctly an article from the Evening Standard that over 40% of the UK stock market is foreign owned? How much property is!!!
Have we been too open for our own good?
Guitarsolo - in strangely reflective mood this morning. Please feel free to ignore ramblings, but if you have any thoughts I would be interested.
If this take over goes through what stock exchange will the new shares be traded on? As I hold Amlin, it might be a reasonable idea to sell some for the immediate profit and hold the rest ( in the take over company) ..... but on what stock exchange?
The Mitsui deal appears to have been priced at a level that factors in future synergies by extracting greater value from a lower combined cost base. Also at a ceiling price that dissuades rival offers.
Feel I've become a bit of a jinx. Bought BRIT on public offering and soon after - taken over. Bought and topped up Catlin until early this year - taken over. Been topping up Amlin until recently - taken over.
Bought LRE with the proceeds of Catlin - so?
Also holding Beazley and Hiscox so CGT could become an issue for me If there are any more moves.
A little sad to be losing some very good companies from my portfolio and running out of ideas as to what to do with the cash.
However, that said, I believe once the current furore has died down (as it did after BRIT and Catlin) prices may return to a more reasonable level and could be an opportune moment to invest in this shrinking sector.
Personally I believe Beazley to be the the most vulnerable to a takeover with Hiscox (my largest holding) the last to succumb to the predators.
Oh how annoying! I didn't have a chance to get back in as am waiting on funds to become available in mid-autumn. Never mind. It's only money!
I don't think it will stop here though. LRE is a target (good underwriting but not-so-good results). Hiscox is good but very big. Beazley and Novae will be easier to snap up.
I can't help feeling though that the buyers are paying quite a lot for it. Whilst Insurers/Reinsurers' figures are held down by investment returns in the low interest rate world, they are being helped enormously by a benign claim environment. There hasn't been a North American catastrophe for a while and there haven't been any particularly expensive earthquakes for a while to affect the London market.
Anyway, well done for anyone who has pocketed a nice capital gain. Shame to lose yet another good divi payer from the ranks though.
I have also been in Amlin since 2010, and by buying on the dips it had become my second largest holding and attractive upward gradient over that time. So buoyed up by today's sudden gain. But downside is not just what else to invest in but this will trigger a sizable taxable capital gain for me.
My largest holding, until today, has been Berkshire Hathaway on the NYSE, which as everyone on here probably knows is an insurance behemoth with significant add-ons to balance out the insurance cycle. It has been a steady performer, no pesky dividends to attract the taxman and unlikely to be taken over.
"Shares in Amlin (LSE:AML) are around a third higher today after the company became the subject of a 670p per share all-cash takeover offer from Japanese sector peer, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company. The deal values Amlin at around Â£3.5bn and ..."
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