How we started China Dolls Investment Club
Our first meeting, in the year 2000, was held in a Chinese restaurant where we had to decide upon a name for our new club.
There is an old fashioned idiom “All Lombard Street to a China Orange” meaning – very heavily weighted odds: Lombard Street signifying wealth and China Orange, poverty.
Sitting eating our Chinese meal, our name was inspired: THE CHINA DOLLS.
We then appointed a Treasurer, a Chair and a Secretary.
Our new Treasurer, Pam S., set up a China Dolls bank account and sent for a manual from a company called Proshare: this gave us a good structure to follow and helped set out a formal base for our share buying and portfolio listing.
Marcia was our first Secretary and produced a China Dolls address card which gave our addresses, emails and telephone numbers.
Once that was in order we set off to begin our investigations.
We decided to continue our meetings in our own homes: each member hosting a simple meal (which has become more elaborate over the years!) followed by our discussions on shares.
STRUCTURE OF MEETINGS
We follow a disciplined routine which is minuted by our secretary.
1. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING AND MATTERS ARISING.
2. TREASURERS REPORT
3. CURRENT INVESTMENTS
4. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS
5. DISCUSSION ON BUYING AND SELLING
6. DECISIONS MADE
7. NEXT MEETING VENUE
1. The minutes of the previous meeting are invariably taken as read, unless a member wants to raise an issue.
2. Earlier, on the day of the meeting, our Treasurer will have forwarded to each of us a copy of our investment portfolio. This is a detailed report on all current investments, dividends received, money in the bank and the value of each members shareholding. Our Treasurer gives a quick resume of this to the club.
3. Each member is assigned shares to follow: we did not start in this way, which resulted in missing important articles on shares in our portfolio. One of our first investments was Marconi, a good solid company or so we thought! Had we been diligent about reading articles on Marconi we may have been able to sell our holding before the company went under. We learnt a hard lesson. Now, as we buy and sell shares, we allocate a member to follow the share. Each member then arrives at the meeting with a progress report on their particular shares: advising whether to buy, sell or hold. If not present at the meeting, the member will email their report to be read out at the meeting.
4. If anything interesting is spotted on a new company during the month, a member will bring this to the clubs attention. Should we buy this new share? We often decide to all look into the company more deeply during the following month and make our decision at the next meeting.
5. Discussion is then held on whether to sell any of our current investments: this in turn may increase the amount we are able to invest in a new share or, as often the case, increase our holding on a current share. It is a good idea to limit the number of shares in the portfolio: we currently have around 21 shares in our portfolio giving each member two or three shares to follow.
6. The decision is then reached by a democratic vote from each member present. Our Treasurer will sell and buy our shares the following morning. We currently use an excellent company called The Share Centre to trade with.
7. Confirmation of the date and venue of the next meeting. We always decide four or five months in advance who will host meetings: this takes into account holidays and gives members time to send in their apologies if not attending.