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Occupation: Private Investor

Interests: Asian Markets, Bonds, Commodities, Derivatives, Economics, Emerging Markets, European Markets, Funds, Geopolitics, Gold, Hedge Funds, Interest Rates, International Stocks, Oil, Private Equity, Property, Stocks, US Market

Twitter: @marben100

About Me:

I am a full-time private investor... with a little trading on the side (generally small-scale arbitrage in specialist niches).

Previously, I spent 24 years in the IT industry, 13 of those running my own IT services firm. I invested as a "hobby" for 20 years before turning it into a full-time occupation in 2004.

I really enjoy the "research" side of investing, finding out about varied businesses and industries and learning what makes them tick. Since going "full-time" I have learnt an awful lot from some very erudite investors & professionals who are kind enough to share their expertise in electronc forums such as this. I can now count a number of them as my friends, having had the opportunity to meet them in the real world, as well as this virtual one!

I try to pay back the debt I owe by sharing what I've learnt and I always value constructive criticism to correct my errors and misapprehensions!

I am a Director of ShareSoc, the UK organisation for individual shareholders. See below for details.



Investment Strategy

Value oriented - but taking account of growth. I always look for "cheap" stocks but adjust my definition of "cheap" to take account of conservative growth prospects. "Cheap" can also relate to asset value, as well as earnings/cashflow.


ShareSoc is a not-for-profit campaigning organisation, promoting individual share ownership, fighting for shareholder rights and providing educational resources to investors.

Web Address:

Address: PO Box 62

Tel: 020-8467-2686

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Marben100's Latest Blogs

The price of oil (and energy in general) is significant for all investors, not just those invested in oil companies, as energy costs are a key input to the economics of many businesses. Hence the recent sharp decline in prices will have widespread economic ramifications, not just the obvious impact it has already had on the share prices of businesses linked to the sector. A…

Greetings! I am preparing a course on behalf of ShareSoc, designed to help investors who are not very comfortable or familiar with the range of tools now available to them. Now, I appreciate that most readers here are already "web savvy" and this course will probably not be suitable for you. However, maybe you know someone who isn't quite "up to speed" and would welcome…

I have recently made a small investment in Ophir Energy (LON:OPHR) , thanks to @WShak1 alerting me to the price drop following the placing by early investors Och-Ziff and Mittal. As it turned out, this was shortly followed by a large rights issue, which I shall be happy to take up. Ophir has been on my radar for a while, as a highly successful explorer,…

Earlier this week, a very important article/study was reported on by Reuters, following on from the original press release from the University of Texas here.  I have been sceptical that shale gas is the panacea it's been touted as. My concern was whether the CAPEX required for drilling and fracking was economically justifiable, given the rapid decline rate of shale wells. Whilst such wells produce…

Inaugural ShareSoc Technology Company Seminar    ShareSoc is pleased to launch the first of a series of technology company focussed seminars exclusive to ShareSoc members. The event will take place on the 20th March 2013, in the City of London, commencing at 5:30 pm. Three companies will be presenting and answering your questions: Escher Group (LON:ESCH) : a developer of software for the postal industry. Deltex…

Marben100's Latest Comments

Just as a footnote to my earlier comments in #3 above, I attended Interserve's AGM this morning. After the meeting, I approached the CEO & found him in a conversation with their house broker, JP Morgan Cazenove. He was bemoaning the poor market reaction to the company's solid results. Interestingly, the broker emphasised that what the market was looking for was improved quality of earnings…

Not much, especially in the UK: 10.8% of operating profit is UK construction, 7.6% international construction. However, a further 18.7% of operating profit is from "equipment services", which is design, hire & sales of formwork & falsework for construction projects, mostly outside the UK, with significant Middle East focus. It really does belong in the "support services" sector, not construction. The bulk of revenues &…

Thanks Ed, I'm not suggesting you should change anything. What is interesting about this situation is that all the factors that the stockranks encapsulate, and which other asset managers pay attention to, explain why the stock appears so undervalued to me! Effectively, I'm betting on an improvement in the stockrank - which could be dramatic, with all of value, quality and momentum potentially contributing (for…

Another interesting mid-cap beneficiary of the election result, from the outsourcing sector Is Interserve (LON:IRV) , which is also up around 5% today. I observe that it only has a stockrank of 70. I suspect that's because it's Piotroski is only 3, pulling down it's quality rank. However, IMO the F-score is heavily distorted due to last year's major acquisition of the Initial Facilities business…

You might want to look into ShareScope, which has a strong reputation for portfolio analysis & performance monitoring - but it is not free! I don't use it at present (use "home brewed" spreadsheets instead) but am seriously considering it, as the spreadsheets are fiddly & error-prone to maintain.

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