Friday, 26 October 2012

An update on those share reductions

Golly it's been months and months since the last post.

Did I go mad after discovering 32 holdings in my ISA? Did I head to an island to find myself or just beat myself with a birch branch for a couple of afternoons for being an idiot?

None of the above unfortunately. My day job just got insanely busy. One aspect of recessionary times is that those of us that still have jobs have to work a hell of a lot harder, give up weekends, nights, financial freedom, and the rest of their lives to keep their companies in business. I'm sure I've written of the impending doom of the company I work for before but this year has been spectacularly hard. I have no idea why or how we kept it running. But that's for another day and probably another entire blog / book.

I still believe in equities at the moment as a worthwhile investment. Not that anything is going particularly well for me but overall income continues to roll in. When I called time on the market back in 2007 I couldn't see any future being involved. Companies were at hugely stretched valuations and producing crazy levels of profit while the housing market and credit raged out of control. I watched as courier vans cruised the town handing out LCDs to the great unwashed and shivered at how this was possible and where it would end up. I guess we know what happened now...

Back to the ISA. I liquidated a far too expensive FTSE tracker (Fidelity Moneybuilder Growth), brilliantly traded my way out of idiot accountants RSM Tenon for a small profit (these people can't run a business themselves, how on earth should they be allowed to help others?), and finally sold my global property tracker as it recovered enough to break even (after five years of holding!). Things were going well I thought. The portfolio was reducing in size. I would just use any peaks in prices to remove other holdings that weren't really doing much.

It got to May and then things started to turn to custard. Valuations of companies began to drop. I had my head turned by turnover candidate, north-sea based oil company Ithaca Energy. It wasn't taken over and the price collapsed for no good reason. I got in at 100p. A P/E valuation of 4?! Crazy. This company regardless of whether they were taken over or not was still profitable, producing good useable oil on a daily basis, and like most explorers / producers was still looking to find more. I could name about 50 other oilies that don't have one barrel of oil to their name and have never turned a profit that were valued higher. A crazy world we live in where guesstimation trumps reality. Then Interactive Investor (where the ISA is held) decided to become a bunch of profiteering pricks. (cue dastardly music)

Interactive Investor contemplating
stealing your savings and
your first born child (boo!)
I guess most will already know about the drama that unfolded. I pitched in with my Google spreadsheet on alternative broker options. It was a great success and I really should keep it updated and linked to from the front page of the blog. At any one point during the height of the crisis (!) it had 30+ people on it. Just shows you how many people were affected by Interactive Investor's decision to shaft us all.

Anyway, then work got even busier and everything went south with the ISA transfer. I've just done a quick count on the portfolio and it has 23 shares in it and there are 9 funds somewhere floating in the ether between Interactive Investor and my new dealing account holder iWeb. I have no idea what the actual valuation of everything is at the moment.

I desperately need that clear-out. A little life laundry for my investments I think. Time to concentrate and get down to it. Plus of course, start posting on the blog again a bit more regularly.