"My Biggest Regret? Not Investing in Asos"

Investor views: Jane Seed has had success backing small mining companies, but her biggest regret is not investing in online fashion giant Asos when shares were just 2.5p 

Emma Simon 13 January, 2021 | 9:43AM
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Investor Views

Jane Seed was first introduced to investing by her mother more than 20 years ago. Her mum was a stockbroker in London at the time, advising on specific stocks, when new rules came in making it necessary for her to have additional qualifications to continue her job.

“She gave me the paperwork after her studies, and it interested me,” says Jane. “While I followed a different career path, I also began to look at the market and how it market moved and I started to invest.”

Jane, who is now in her 50s and runs two start-up companies, still prefers to invest in individual shares rather than funds run my a manager as she likes learning about new techniques and technologies which companies are exploring. “I tend to invest at the bottom-end of the market, in small companies with little or no debt but potentially high opportunities for growth,” she adds.

Janes focuses on around 20 companies at a time, aiming to get to know them well and to understand the sectors in which they operate. “That means if any news breaks, I can quickly understand how it applies to the business,” she explains.

Investing in Mining Stocks 

An interest in the industry has led her to focus on oil and gas companies in the past, and currently her portfolio is dominated by mining stocks. She says: “I recognise that investing in these areas has ethical and environmental implications, but the demand for oil and gas has not yet stopped.”

In the past, Jane has invested in green stocks such as windfarm company Seanergy Maritime Holdings (RHSR) and Tanfield Group (TAN), which is involved in the production of electric vehicles. She says: “I had hoped these modern technologies would replace our reliance on oil but the companies were a bit ahead of their time and struggled to raise finance, so I sold out of both when I realised the technology was too young and not yet profitable.”

Currently Jane’s largest holding is a pozzalon/perlite project in Nevada, known as Sunrise Resources (SRES). Pozzalon is a replacement for the fly ash byproduct from coal power plants which is used in concrete - hardly a new substance, it was used by the Romans.

“Obviously this is an ethical project so it assuages my guilt in investing in miners,” says Jane. “If there is a better ethical choice then I’m only too happy to invest, but at the end of the day my motivation is to make a profit.”

Other holdings include Chesterfield Resources (CHF), which has been mining copper and gold in Cyprus. The company is due to publish results soon and has recently had a big investor come on board, which Jane hopes is a good sign: “It has drilled there in the past with a positive outcome so I’m anticipating good results for this drilling round.”

My Biggest Investment Regret

Of course, there are obviously risks investing in smaller companies. Jane has lost money in companies such as Berkeley Mineral Resources, but says this was due to fraud – the shares were suspended after the chief executive took money out of the company.

Another unsuccessful investment was Redstone Telecom: “The company did a rights issue that was many times the number of shares in issue, and there was a confetti spiral downward to the share price, which swamped my investment.”

But Jane says her worst mistake wasn’t a share she bought, but one she did not.
“In 2000 I spent a weekend studying a company that had been trading at 2.5p and had been tipped in a national newspaper. When the market opened on the Monday morning, the company was heavily traded and shares climbed to 3.5p in no time,” she says.

Jane waited a week for the share price to fall and for her chance to invest, but it continued its upward march. The company was As Seen On Screen (ASC) — or Asos as it is more normally known as now. By 2018, its shares had reached more than £75 a share. “I shake my head every time I see the share price,” says Jane. “But I think I might have regretted it even more if I’d bought and then sold for a piddly profit.”

Jane, who lives with her husband in Hastings, still enjoys investing but doesn’t trade as frequently as she used to. Her aim is to invest in companies with solid assets, which she believes will pay off eventually.

Elsewhere, she and her husband have property investments and she also invests in artwork. She says: “I have a range of artworks, ranging from aboriginal and Balinese art to modern works by artists such as Tracey Emin, Jamie Reid, Le Rat and Thirsty Bstrd. I like to think that I’m helping to support the artists as well as making an investment for the future.”

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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About Author

Emma Simon

Emma Simon  is a financial journalist, specialising in investment and consumer issues, writing for Morningstar.co.uk

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