Below is a list of software packages that can help you to both run your club and to find potential investment candidates.
An all round package that offers charting, portfolios and daily data services as part of the all-in price. Investor Ease offers significant subscription discounts to multiple users who are members of the same investment club. For more information please go to www.investorease.com
Meridian Software Three software products for private investors that range from a simple portfolio manager which will draw price charts and has manual data entry to a very comprehensive program with a wide variety of analytical tools and automatic data entry. Each will let you follow any number of portfolios of shares. For more information go to www.meridian-software.co.uk
A range of software products for the more active investor and more experienced investment club, specialising in technical analysis. For more information on the products available, go to www.updata.co.uk
In 2005, ShareScope was voted “Best Investment Software” by ProShare Investment Club members. Rather than list the features of the software, here, John Taylor, Chairman of the Swan Investment Club, talks about how ShareScope helps them to make investment decisions and run the club.
How do you decide which companies to invest in? The investment style of the Swan Investment Club could best be described as “democratic” rather than, for example, value or growth investment orientated. Several investment schools are represented among the members. At each meeting, any members may present investment proposals which are then put to the vote - which is often close. Sometimes I have to use my second vote to resolve deadlocks often to the chagrin of the defeated faction.
How do you present information on potential investments? The Club uses a laptop running ShareScope and a projector to present new investment proposals and to review shares already held in the club portfolio. ShareScope enables us to display both company fundamentals and price charts over different periods of time. Its tables allow us to compare different companies clearly and easily.
Using ShareScope also allows us to answer many of the inevitable questions by simply bringing the information up on screen. You can’t do this with a presentation or a handout. (For Clubs that don’t meet face to face, you can cut and paste any of ShareScope’s screens into a Word document and email it to members.)
Is ShareScope the only source of information that you use? ShareScope is the main source – without it, members would have to spend a tremendous amount of time reading the press, company reports and various websites to gather the same information and then prepare it in a useful format for presentation. However, we do also refer to the Saturday FT, Investors Chronicle, The Times and websites like Motley Fool. (ShareScope receives the latest Investors Chronicle Share Tips, Tip Updates and Views FREE every Friday lunchtime.)
How do you manage the Club’s portfolio? ShareScope’s Portfolio facility enables us to record all share transactions and gives us the daily change in value as well as the ongoing profit (or loss). It separates out brokers’ charges and stamp duty, and provides CGT and Dividend reports for the Club’s end of year tax return. In conjunction with a spreadsheet, it is relatively simple to unitise each member’s holdings.
What advice would you give to new clubs? My advice to any new investment club would be that Rome and your club portfolio cannot be built in a day. You will make mistakes and the measure of a good club is the ability to survive and learn from them. Concentrate on building up your membership. And remember, everyone must make a contribution to the club.