|I am sorry to issue another eshot so soon, but Blue Planet Investment Trust’s ill-advised Board has decided to issue another letter and this time to the tiniest investors, to those with mere tens of pounds’ worth of investment in it. A letter is going to all participating investors soon. |
I have to wonder if this latest defamatory letter, no doubt with costs billed to the Investment Trust (so investors) is trying to frighten people into selling their shares so they can buy them cheaply themselves. Mr Ken Murray, the MD, bought 435,000 of these ‘illiquid investments’ just before the AGM last year.
The Blue Planet cabal appears very desperate as it includes a prepaid envelope and a plea with investors to vote for the directors at the Edinburgh AGM on 15 September! Please instead attend and let them know what you think!
They are in bed on this issue with Barnstaple lawyers Samuels (touting for litigation business). The letter is designed to cause worry. Clients’ address details were secured legitimately under a legal request imposed by the Companies Act – but not to proselytise and harass investors (and the Investment Trust is not even registered with the Information Commissioner for the management of Data – so do complain there).
No-one needs ‘legal advice’. If clients remain concerned, even The Ministry of Justice (a major government department ‘which works to protect and advance the principles of justice’) and the Financial Conduct Authority encourage investors to use the free services. The MOJ says:- ‘It is straightforward to complain to financial firms directly, and if necessary to the ombudsman service or FSCS. Complaining yourself is free, and you will keep any compensation you receive without any fees being deducted’.
Solicitors are not charities. If you engage one, regardless of what you are told about ‘no-win, no-fee’ arrangements, investors could end-up paying considerable costs and defence costs against unsubstantiated allegations. If we cannot help and you remain concerned, call the Financial Ombudsman Service on 020 7964 1400. Meantime rest assured and at our cost we are leaving no stone unturned in seeking justice and regulatory intervention against all those involved and compensation for all investors and shareholders but it will take time.
It is always reassuring to know that when we invest in a publicly listed Investment Trust that we have regulatory and Stock Exchange protection behind us to give us some security. Of course, it can then prove to be the case that the protections upon which we all rely either fail or are not administered or investigated thoroughly or speedily by the Listing Authority and the FCA.
However, imagine our surprise when researching the links and prospective conflicts of interest between the management and some of the directors and the companies involved, in that that another entity (Blue Planet Holdings Ltd) registered in Malta popped-up under the ‘Paradise Papers’ leak. PARADISE PAPERS – MALTA CORPORATE REGISTRY
Ken and Magda Murray were listed as well as Mark Jackson, who is a ‘senior investment analyst’ at the Blue Planet Management Company too. Magda Murray is the main shareholder of the main Blue Planet Trust through Labrador Coast Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Seabright Seattle Nominees Ltd, an offshore Cypriot company beneficially or absolutely owned by her. She also ‘owns the entire issued ordinary share capital’ of the Manager.
So around 35 years ago, we looked-after a small legacy from a lovely lady for her five (?) great-grandchildren. The pot was managed successfully and we did the job needed by the executors and trustees of the will for these minors at the time. My memory may not be perfect after all that while but I believe the amounts for each youngster were about £2,000.
Recently, we had a contact out-of-the-blue. The young man, now married with his own family, enquired into our services as he remembered we had done a good job for the Family. He now has an excellent job in the City for a multinational consultancy and cutting-a-long-story-short, he has now subscribed funds to us to manage for him.
We are honoured to have him and his Family as clients and shall do our very best for them as we trust we did all those years ago. Welcome to the fold!
It does show, however, that in our profession those seeds can be sown a very long time before any may germinate and bear fruit (I sound like a Bible parable now!). What is humbling is that the amounts were so small and in commercial terms would have cost us money in managing and advising but that’s the sort of firm we were and still are today. If we can help, we’ll try our hardest to oblige as who knows where that may lead.
Especially in the face of all the inequitable ‘rubbish’ of the Blue Planet fiasco with their comments about us designed to deflect from their performance and their shenanigans, it is humbling too to receive this note from a client. This is what it says:-
‘Your company has seen me through 1) the 2008 financial crash) 2) the Brexit debacle 3) a global pandemic and 4) the threat of an all-out war etc. etc! I have had an excellent income from you over many years, with the exception of the past 20 months (my choice), and my capital has also grown nicely. Thanks to Scott, I do not now pay any unnecessary tax on my investments with you. He, by the way, has always been so kind and patient with me, and explained things fully and clearly.
‘I do not know how you have managed all this during such difficult times, but I really believe coming to you way back in 2004, just before I retired, was the best decision I ever made. Thank you for your continuing exceptional service’.
Well done to all the staff, each of whom has a part to play in what we try our utmost to do.
Praying for justice
This week our Church Minister reminded us that even if we face conflict and behaviour from others which can amount to injustice and unfairness (being polite here!), that we are indeed entitled to pray that justice will be meted-out. That is not ‘revenge’ or ‘retribution’ but simply that in the end, justice will reign.
It seems insipid and whilst we are not the decider of justice in this regard but some thousands of our clients have been subjected to wholly inappropriate and indeed disgraceful correspondence from a quoted Investment Trust in league with a local law firm in which we have a tiny holding, tiny in that it represents a mere 0.5% of all of our clients’ assets. That means that 99.5% of our clients’ monies are in other things, all doing exactly what they are expected to be doing in the context of their agreed portfolio strategies.
We don’t wish ill on any miscreants ever, though we trust that in the end, justice will be done for any wrongs or negligence imparted by those who do know better.
Meantime, we shall continue doing our very best endeavours to look-after clients’ funds to the top of our abilities and in the balanced, significantly risk-managed way we do. However, we shall be delighted to stand with our heads high and in integrity, proving that we are better than such assailants and their futile and worthless attacks in all regards.
Discounts to net asset value – are these a wind up?
One of our favourites has just reported its latest net asset value and if it closed-out of everything ‘today’ our investors would receive a 26% uplift. Isn’t that silly – and this particular Trust is in wind-up – it’s just a matter of when the payments are going to arise! We’ll keep buying more whilst the pricing anomaly exits. Don’t forget, we continue to enjoy the underlying performance of the assets held in the meantime – and juicy dividends too.
One of our other ‘can you believe it’ discounts remains obscenely high too. So for $10.30 we can buy a slice of a nigh $1billion Fund and the look-through underlying assets are $28.59. Whilst it isn’t going to happen, if tomorrow they gave up the ghost and sold all their assets we’d receive a cheque 177% higher than the price at which we can buy shares. I am not greedy and even a slight increase will do us just fine. Whilst we sit and wait, we are paid a dividend of 4.6%.
In the first half of 2022, the Fund did significantly better than the ‘market’ only losing 3.5% of net assets. Indeed, it ‘saved’ 3% simply by buying-in and cancelling some of its own shares at this deep discount so there are more returns to share amongst the rest of us. New investors have come on board though and the share price in Sterling terms is up 38% since 1/1/22 and the dividends are on top. It’s no surprise this fund has leap-frogged into our biggest investment for clients (yet still only 2.26% of our total assets).
I suppose I should comment on one of our secure loan funds in wind-up too – the latest net asset value for that has been announced and it is 72% above the latest share price – if you can find shares. We own too many perhaps and it is a struggle to find more but for waiting, we should unlock a handsome profit and as for low risk – the secret is in the title.
The issue of UK workers’ productivity raised its head recently. The figures are simply facts so what has gone wrong? I attended a conference recently and the presenter noted that the ‘Distraction Economy’ is creating weaknesses in our productivity and that the average younger person is spending between 3-4 hours daily on their mobile telephones. How much do you do and how much of that is during your working day, so affecting your productivity?
So the US sent 75% of its gas to Europe in the first four months of 2022. Our gas is pricing at eight times above US Natural gas. Sadly, the US LNG Freeport Terminal is reaching full capacity/storage and can’t export more till November. Isn’t this ridiculous?
Philip J Milton DipFS CFPCM Chartered MCSI FPFS FCIB
Chartered Wealth Manager
Fellow Of The Personal Finance Society, Fellow Of The Chartered Institute Of Bankers