October portfolio roundup: busier than expected

October was again a bit of a stinker for the FTSE 100, which is still being pretty much entirely driven by sentiment around the virus. Fortunately, we should have some certainty around the US election soon (fingers crossed). Will that help lift the FTSE? 

Despite the FTSE’s struggles, I remain optimistic about the UK. So, I will keep investing in UK listed shares and trusts while also using funds, trackers and trusts to invest beyond the UK and get some much needed growth and diversification. The fact I hold FTSE 100 companies mean in effect I’m not too tied to the UK economy but it seems just bing UK listed is a penalty at the moment. 

I’m also moving towards adding more growth at a reasonable price type shares, which is why I’ve been looking at some UK listed smaller cap shares recently.

Growth shares that I’ve shortlisted

I’ve spent some of the latter part of October looking at some AIM shares to add to my portfolio. This is mainly with an eye on growth. I’ve narrowed down the list to the following which may be added to the portfolio before the end of the year.

  • IMImobile (LON:IMO)
  • DiscoverIE (LON:DSCV) – you can read what This is Money has said about it recently here
  • MacFarlane (LON:MACF)
  • Quixant (LON:QXT)
  • Venture Life (LON:VLG)

Below are the changes that have actually happened with my portfolio over the last month.

Portfolio activity in October

There was some trading activity in my portfolio in the last part of the month. On the 27th, on the back of share price strength, I decided to lock in my profits in Team17 within my LISA. The only reason for selling was to make my LISA all cash in anticipation of buying a home before the end of March 2021. A rise of 44% since May of this year was too good to pass up. I still think it’s a quality company and I retain a smaller amount in my ISA.

The share price rise on the day I sold took the gaming group over the £1bn market cap mark, which is a huge achievement. I’m likely to hold the rest of my shares for a long time.

I’ve had my eye on Polar Capital for some time and on the 22nd I added 192 shares to my SIPP. This is likely to be a long-term hold that I’ll be adding to when the share price becomes more attractive. Given what we’ve seen at the end of October it’s entirely possible I’ll be able to pick up more at a cheaper price.

Then on the 28th, I added a new position in Hargreaves Lansdown because of its share price weakness in recent months. That’s despite adding assets under management and new customers. It looks to me to be oversold and is being hit because it’s deemed to be a financial company. However, it’s not a bank and makes impressive margins, so I’m happy to add it.

I made a riskier investment in Rolls-Royce as it fell heavily on its rights issue. I don’t want to hold these long but I thought I’d use some spare cash to try and turn a quick profit. If it doesn’t work – and it’s shaping up that way – then I’ll move on pretty sharpish.

Then on the same day, I added to my holdings in DS Smith and Intermediate Capital. The former a case of averaging down on further share price weakness. The latter I’ve made good profits on since first buying, but recent share price weakness meant I thought I’d buy more. I previously had reduced my stake to bank profits but it feels like it has good potential for income and growth.

So, in the end, it was a busier month than usual and the portfolio now looks a bit different to how it started the month.

How the portfolio looks now

Hargreaves Lansdown holdings
Hargreaves Lansdown holdings 29/10/2020

 

 

These figures don’t seem to quite have caught up with some of the trades that have been made. Cash, in reality, is much higher at around 50% and the Marlborough fund a bit lower, but by and large, it reflects my portfolio as it stands.

Below is a table of the shares that I previously held with SVS Securities (which in August 2019 went into administration) meaning that these holdings are now being transferred to AJ Bell via ITI Capital. Although, as I point out below, this transfer process is painfully slow, so I don’t buy or sell these holdings at all and haven’t done so since August 2019. 

Share name No of shares
National Grid 1,203
Persimmon 438
Legal & General 3,749
AstraZeneca 111
Merchants Trust 1,448
Synthomer 1,785
HSBC 1.199

Updates from the holdings

Probably the biggest news came from Lloyds Banking Group. Its shares rose as it posted far lower provisions for bad debts than expected. The lender generated net income of £3.4bn in the three months to end-September, down from £4.2bn the same period a year ago and roughly flat compared to the second quarter.

I’m separating out the holdings I have with ITI Capital because there’s nothing I can do with my shares after any company announcement or results, because I can’t access them. Nonetheless, I retain an interest in how the shares I own are doing.

I was pleased to finally see some positive news from Synthomer during the month while HSBC got a boost from Q3 results being less bad than expected (investing is a funny old world!).

Synthomer (held by ITI Capital) – lifted its full-year earnings guidance and reinstated its dividend amid “strong” trading momentum in all three of its divisions.

HSBC (held by ITI Capital) – unveiled a less-than-expected 36% fall in third quarter profits. Pre-tax profit for the three months to September 30 came in at $3.1bn, compared with a $2.07bn average of analysts’ estimates compiled by the bank

Update from ITI Capital

It seems I tempted fate last month by saying things might progress between ITI Capital and AJ Bell. Neither is very helpful, although at least the latter picks up the phone to clients. Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a resolution in November; that’ll be fifteen months after I could last access the money and shares I held with the former SVS Securities. In about a fortnight at least I can get the Financial Ombudsman involved in the process, which might help speed things up.

The only thing I can say to any investor is, don’t check just your investments. Check on your broker as well. Going through this has been a painful experience, with very few people or organisations to turn to or willing to help, and I’m incredibly lucky I have significant other investments. For anyone that had a lot of their wealth with SVS Securities, it’s probably been an even bleaker time.

Anyway, I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, I’m confident it’ll all be sorted at some point. At this rate probably in 2030. Does make you wonder how easy it is to become an FCA regulated business though doesn’t it?

It’s this experience that makes me suspicious and wary of the new kids on the block – Freetrade and Trading 212. They seem to be growing quickly and are good at marketing gimmicks, but will they follow FCA compliance rules? I don’t have the answer. I’m determined however not to find out the hard way though if the answer is no.

Anyway that aside, it’s onwards and hopefully upwards. Now the clocks have turned back I’ll be inside even more, meaning I have more time to spend looking for new investments. Hoping to find some gems in the coming weeks and I’ll update the blog if I do. Fingers crossed for a good November and I hope all readers are doing well. 

Thanks very much for reading. 

If you enjoyed this update please do share it on Twitter and follow me at @sharewatch100. 

You can read my previous September update here if you’ve enjoyed this one or my latest article on three shares which have great dividend growth potential

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