The UK court case involving the City Slickers column at The Daily Mirror and share trading before market moving tips appeared in the paper has provoked an interesting response at The Daily Mail, which is now publishing a list of the shareholdings of its finance reporters.
Importantly, The Daily Mail is not just publishing current holdings but also going back over past trading, which is very important if you want to understand where someone is coming from. Similarly, I would love to see past holdings of directors declared, rather than just the current holdings so investors could see how the positions have changed over the years.
Sadly, it would take a few days to produce a complete register of my past trading, but below are all the current holdings in a portfolio which is worth $58,518 and supported by a margin loan of $22,250.
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As Crikey has reported before, there is also potential for all sorts of conflicts of interest in journalism with paid speaking gigs. For instance, I was offered $1,600 recently to simply have dinner with a group of people from a company that depends on substantial protection from the Howard Government. Taking the cash would have left me hopelessly conflicted the next time this controversial policy arose for discussion, so I declined.
I’ve even just had the Australian Institute of Company Directors on the line asking if I’ll edit a new email newsletter for their top 500 directors. It was okay to talk at the AICD annual conferences in 2004 and 2005, but this would be too big a conflict of interest for a shareholder activist and critic of the directors’ club.
The cash for comment scandal produced the register of interest for commercial radio presenters which has been a good initiative, but our newspaper and television journalists are still not publicly disclosing any information about their financial affairs save for the odd disclosure at the bottom of a story, so maybe we can all lift our game in light of these developments in the UK.
The Mayne Family Portfolio (assembled for AGM access not shareholder returns)
ABC Learning (80), Austereo (310) AGL (90), Atlas Group (420), Aristocrat Leisure (50), Ansell (50), APN News & Media (115), Austar (500), Alumina (100), Billabong (40), Baycorp Advantage (150), Becton Property Group (1100), BHP Billiton (35), Brickworks (40), Babcock & Brown (32), Bluescope Steel (60), Clime Capital (540), Central Equity (220), Callenger Financial Services (150), Chiquita Brands (670), Coles Myer (50), Computershare (80), CSR, (220), Caltex Australia (40), David Jones (220), John Fairfax (115), Gunns (1,140), Healthscope (100), Harvey Norman (200), Housewares International (350), Insurance Australia Group (95), IOOF (75), Incitec Pivot (33), James Hardie (60), Just Group (300), Macquarie Bank (12), Macquarie Goodman Group (125), Mirvac (150), Macquarie Infrastructure Group (130), Macquarie Leisure Trust (240), Multiplex (165), MYOB, (500), Mayne Pharma (250), National Australia Bank (16), Nylex (2,300), Nufarm (45), News Corporation (325), News Corporation non-voting (25), Orica (25), Pacifica (250), Pacific Brands (210), Publishing & Broadcasting Limited (67), Primelife (370), PMP, (370), Palamedia (100), Perpetual (8), Paperlinx (200), Patrick Corp (70), Qantas (160), Record Investments (100), Reece Australia (40), Ramsay Healthcare (65), Resmed (100), Southern Cross Broadcasting (50), Seek (200), STW Communications (180), SP Ausnet (400), Spotless (100), Symbion Health (250), Tabcorp (35), Tassal Group (520), Telstra (610), Toll Holdings (40), Tattersall’s (160), Virgin Blue (310), Village Roadshow (175), Woodside Petroleum (16), Wattyl (250), Zinifex (110).