The Pearshaped Investment Club was set up in September 1999 to provide some fun, some stockmarket education and the opportunity to make or possibly lose some money.
For our first year we were registered with the ProShare Investment Clubs. Our constitution and rules are very closely based on the Proshare manual, in fact the manual was just about indispensable while we were setting up the club.
There were 14 founder members of the club and numbers have varied over the years reaching a high of 19 at one time falling back to just 11 now. At the time of joining we all worked for the same company at an office in Meriden near Coventry. Several members left the company, some resigned from the club and some stayed. You can see pictures of the current membership on the Members page.
At the inaugural meeting of the club we had to choose where to bank our money and where to buy our shares. For our bank we chose Girobank as it offered free banking for clubs and societies and that appealed to our treasurer. It has since changed name to Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank and will no doubt change its name again as it is now part of the Santander Group. Cheques can be paid in by post and cash extracted from nominated Post Offices. Our subscriptions are paid in by standing order. All very convienient. We chose Charles Swab Europe as our stock-broker as they had a special nominee account for Investment Clubs with no admin expenses and we dealt over the internet to keep dealing costs to a minimum. In turn they were taken over by Barclays Stockbrokers who we use to this day.
Our meetings were originally held either at the Bull's Head or the Bear but with members now more spread out about the country the club is completely run online, with voting on share purchases and sales conducted by email.
Founder members paid a £50 initial subscription and new members £75. We all pay £25 per month into the club's coffers and this money is used to buy shares on the UK stock market.
Part of the idea of the club was to pursue an adventuresome investment policy. Some of us have our own share portfolios, some carefully chosen and some in for the long term. And, of course, some of us were new to wheeling and dealing on the stockmarket. But the club provided us with the opportunity to take a higher risk and perhaps look to the short term.
So we bought our first shares in November 1999 and during the first few weeks we moved gently towards a small profit. Then in the space of the first two months of the new year our profits raced up to be over 90% of our investment and we were cock-a-hoop! Then in the next 2 months; with the technology sell off they plunged back down again and at the end of April stood at about 10%. Since then we have watched our profits hit negative territory and then struggle back to level pegging by the beginning of September. But September was a peak and we've been losing ever since. It is often said that the value of shares can fall as well as rise - and we have proved it! You can see what that did to the value of our units over the months!
This section was written back in 2002. Since then we've had our ups and downs and now at the beginning of 2010 the club is running a modest profit. However this profit is made up of gains on past deals and dividends paid to us - our current holdings are unfortunately running at a loss.