Investing mistakes - I've had my share this year. I'm a relatively novice investor (I bought my first individual share in September last year) so I expect to have my fair share of errors as I go along, the key thing as I see it is to learn from my mistakes to prevent their repetition as far as possible. So, without further ado, here's a tally of my investing cock ups:
1) Elektron Technology
Technically this is a mistake of 2011, my only action in 2012 was to sell my remaining shares in January at 23.3p. Given the market price is now 17.3p this was arguably a successful decision! However it's worth a look at because I think the mistake I made here is an easy one to do and one I anticipate I'll inevitably make again - trusting in management who aren't operating in shareholder's best interests.
The Chairman, Keith Daley, currently owns 13% of the company, which is normally a very good sign. Management who are owners overcome the principal-agent problem and tend to act in the better interests of shareholders. Key word - tend to. The incident in question that led me to selling out here was this statement.
Wow - management awarding themselves bundles of shares - giving away almost 10% of the company in one fell stroke! Now I'm all for management being well incentivised, but this was beyond ridiculous. Such an action is effectively a big middle finger to all non-management shareholders. The business may be selling well below the intrinsic value right now but with management having shown they are in this to maximise wealth for themselves at the expense of other shareholders, who'll be the end recipient in the long run of this value? Given there's cheap companies out there which have shareholder-friendly management why take the chance?
There's plenty of ire on the ADVFN company board about the management even before the JSOP announcement. My mistake was not investigating this further before I bought at 32.3p - d'oh! One last piece of irony is that one of the board members has written a book entitled Angels, Dragons and Vultures: How to Tame Your Investors... And Not Lose Your Company. The writing really was on the wall... or rather, in the book.