Company Webinars, RIP David McCallum and Lord Harris Donation

I attended the Mello Trust and Funds webinar yesterday where a number of such organisations presented. That included Impax Environmental Markets, Ocean Dial and the India Capital Growth Fund, Polar Capital Global Financials Trust and JP Morgan UK smaller companies (JMI). I can’t say any of them excited me. When the market is trending down there is a tendency to switch holdings but usually to no advantage. The JMI holdings might have been interesting but their holding in Aston Martin Lagonda, a consistently loss making business, is enough to put me off.

I also attended a ShareSoc webinar on CQS Natural Resources Growth and Income (CYN). This company provides diversified natural resources exposure through smaller companies. It’s a closed end fund. Manager Robert Crayfourd said there were further legs to energy while ESG policies were constraining supply. These have blocked the capitalist response function.

But he confirmed the energy transition was happening and they have been focussing on battery materials. They are also keen on precious metals due to central bank demand.

With 36% invested in oil/gas and 7% in uranium which they are bullish on as demand is exceeding supply I asked why we should bother investing in smaller companies when large oil/gas companies are on high yields at present. Not sure I got a clear answer to that.

The historic financial record looks fairly boring with dividends flat-lining but it was mentioned they will have surplus cash in their investment account so the directors may decide to increase the dividend. In summary I was positively impressed by the presentation and it may therefore be worth further research.

Actor David McCallum, star of the Man from UNCLE, NCIS and other popular TV series, has died. I once landed at New York’s Kennedy airport after a transatlantic flight to find a long queue for a taxi. Confusion reigned as numbered tickets for your place in the queue had been cycled around so there were two people holding the same number. Then David McCallum rolled up and he was clearly in a hurry because he attempted to bribe the queue organiser – to no effect. A memorable occasion! 

Another blast from the past was the news report today that Lord Harris of Peckham, one of my former bosses, has donated £5,000 to Rachel Reeves, Labour shadow chancellor. He has previously been a big donor to the Conservative Party and an active supporter. He is quoted as saying: “Tories don’t deserve to win the next election” and there is a big profile of him in the Telegraph here:

He has made many charitable donations to schools and hospitals from the fortunes he made at Harris Queensway and Carpetright but I doubt this donation will win him many friends.

Roger Lawson (Twitter  )

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