Thursday, 28 January 2016


My record as an investor on the Stock Exchange is quite possibly second to none.  Second to none as the world's worst.

It started out well enough, even though it was in a very small way.  I was working in a bank as what was then called a securities clerk.  Basically, the securities clerks in the branches were the ones who dealt with peoples stocks and shares, foreign transactions and safe custody and handled all the rigmarole of taking charges (mortgages) over property and other security for loans.

I was the junior of two in the securities department at the branch when I started investing on the Exchange - allow that is perhaps a slight misnomer.  It was my senior colleague who introduced me to stagging.  Stagging involves applying for and buying shares in a company just coming to market, ie the Stock exchange, and selling as soon as dealing in that company's shares opens.  Hopefully at a profit.

And we did.  Make profits, that is.  £20, £30 or so pounds here and there.  Not exactly a fortune, but this was back in the days when my annual salary was probably less than £1,000 so those profits were very useful.

Then my grandmother died and left me a useful sum of money.  I decided that I would use half to gamble, to buy speculative shares, and the other half i would invest in a blue chip company, a solid company representing no (or very little) risk.  I chose Rolls Royce as the blue chip.

All, or very nearly all, the gambles paid off, although none was a spectacular success, but I didn't lose any money.  Rolls Royce, on the other hand, went bust and I lost all that investment.

So I decided to leave the Stock Exchange alone and invest elsewhere.

When sterling went decimal, I anticipated that the 'new' halfpenny coin would be around for only a few years before it was withdrawn.  Anyone with a few mint specimens might expect to see them increase in value.  Eventually.  So I acquired - quite legitimately - a £20 box straight from the Bank of England.  The coins inside were straight from the Royal Mint in their original packaging.  Perfect.

I still have that box today.  And, I suspect, it is still worth no more than £20!

Warren Buffet is in no danger from me!


joeh said...

Been there, done that. My advise is to diversify and stay put during up and downs. In the long run this has always worked. Of course in able to diversify and stay put, you need a lot of money.

Why is there always a catch?

Sarah said...

I've never had any real money to invest (other than in my house which has increased in value substantially over the years) and all of SD's money gets ploughed into Beach Buggys - somehow I don't think they will ever make our fortune. Guess I'll just keep doing the lottery every now and then and keep my fingers crossed!