richardbeddard

Richard Beddard

Richard is a highly-respected investment writer well-known for his Share Sleuth column in Money Observer. He also writes regularly for MoneyWeek amongst other publications. Richard eats his own cooking – buying good companies at reasonable prices in his Self Invested Personal Pension and holding them for the long-term.

I’m a long-time ShareScope and SharePad fan and my aim is to help you find better companies faster using the fantastic tools at your disposal. My focus is on finding businesses we can reasonably expect to prosper for many years. As well as analysing data, I work out the strategies companies are following and try to verify that they are working in the real world by quizzing executives, visiting companies, trying their products and observing how they operate.

Latest Articles

  • The ultimate competitive advantage 11th December 2019 by Richard Beddard - Business schools identify the sources of competitive advantage that tie customers to companies and what they produce. Fundamentally though, there is only one true competitive advantage: people. If I could recommend one book for long-term investors, it would be “Intelligent… ...more
  • Skin in the game: Two for the watchlist 27th November 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard uses his “Skin in the game” table to find companies whose directors are major shareholders. The experiment starts off badly with Asset Co., but gets better. Frontier Development and Focusrite could be great owner-managed businesses. To recap: We can… ...more
  • Investing alongside managers with skin in the game 13th November 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard uses SharePad to find companies whose managers are also significant shareholders. They are likely to be building businesses for the long-term, he says. The reasons for investors to look kindly on owner-managers, executives that have large shareholdings in the… ...more
  • Burberry joins “Future of Fashion” portfolio 29th October 2019 by Richard Beddard - In his quest for companies that control their own destinies, Richard discovers luxury fashion brand Burberry, a company whose products he is in no danger of buying. Last time, I promised to investigate one of the shares I found while… ...more
  • Finding companies that control their own destinies 16th October 2019 by Richard Beddard - Fallout from the demise of Thomas Cook reminds Richard of the virtues of vertical integration. In the month since the demise of Thomas Cook, the company that invented package tours, there has been much talk of rivals who will benefit… ...more
  • What PZ Cussons’ cashflow tells us about its strategy 2nd October 2019 by Richard Beddard - Having found PZ Cussons through his Keep It Simple, Stupid filter, Richard examines the company through its cash flow statement. To his delight, he finds a company promising to keep things simple too. Two weeks ago I augmented my Keep… ...more
  • Filtering out the big spenders 18th September 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard invents a new filter that promises to weed out big acquirers in a drive for simplicity he hopes will make investigating his next company easier. Complications tend to keep investors awake at night and wakeful nights are not conducive… ...more
  • The future of holidays portfolio 4th September 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard returns from his holiday and wonders whether he can put the experience to use by investing in holiday companies. First step: Create a portfolio of holiday companies. It is early September, so I am going to take a wild… ...more
  • Hidden potential in new division 21st August 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard analyses Bloomsbury Publishing’s segmental report to work out where the profit is coming from. The Harry Potter effect is still evident, but the company is conjuring up another source of profit without recourse to magic. My last article ended… ...more
  • Finding the best companies to analyse 6th August 2019 by Richard Beddard - A wise man once advised investors to stick to their circle of competence. Richard uses SharePad to keep his eye on the prize, and it leads him to Bloomsbury Publishing... My base filter in SharePad currently returns a total of… ...more
  • The art of the sale 23rd July 2019 by Richard Beddard - In response to a reader’s request for a sell filter, Richard goes looking for trouble in his portfolio by setting some “curiosity triggers”.... One of the better bits of advice passed between investors is to sell shares when the reasons… ...more
  • How to work out whether a firm is good acquirer 10th July 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard uses a trick from Judges Scientific’s playbook to assess local hero Scientific Digital Imaging. Both companies acquire scientific instrument manufacturers using a “buy and build strategy”. Last month we worked out how to populate Google Maps with SharePad data… ...more
  • The Future of Retail portfolio 26th June 2019 by Richard Beddard - Rule number one in investing is to buy what you know, but how does that work when what you know is changing day by day? Richard grapples with clothing and fashion retailers, who are themselves grappling with the emergence of… ...more
  • Checking the numbers match the story 11th June 2019 by Richard Beddard - One thing we should always check is that a company’s long-term performance matches the story it tells us. Churchill China says it is “adding value” to tableware, a horrible bit of jargon that is easily corroborated in SharePad. I received… ...more
  • Hidden treasure on your doorstep 30th May 2019 by Richard Beddard - Finding local businesses listed on the stock market is easy with the help of SharePad and Google Maps. Richard maps the market to find out what’s good in the ‘hood. When I wrote about Portmeirion last time, I promised to… ...more
  • Portmeirion: When confidence crumbles 14th May 2019 by Richard Beddard - SharePad is not just about discovering new shares, it can help us see shares we are familiar with in a new light. Richard uses it to re-evaluate old favourite Portmeirion and his confidence begins to crumble even before events take… ...more
  • Bodycote: A stalwart in cyclical clothing 2nd May 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard investigates a company that not only walks the walk, it talks the talk. I am not going to lie, even if it means shattering the illusion investors are cool rational calculating machines. I experienced a prolonged period of joy… ...more
  • RM: Will profit endure? 16th April 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard considers whether the supplier of educational resources and software services can sustain profitability and reignite growth. There’s a good chance, he thinks, which makes RM an intriguing proposition at its current valuation. In my last article, we took a… ...more
  • RM: Is profit real? 3rd April 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard investigates RM, one of the stock market's great survivors, starting with just one question. It takes him on a twisty trail... Before we get into the numbers, some reasons why RM, a supplier of 50,000 educational products and IT… ...more
  • Moneysupermaaaaaaahhhhhhket 19th March 2019 by Richard Beddard - The veteran price comparison company is changing, and maybe for the better. Richard investigates one of the companies that easily met the criteria of his Fundsmith filter. I avoid Price Comparison Websites. The notion we should all be like hamsters… ...more
  • Fishing like Fundsmith 5th March 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard builds a Fundsmith filter, taking it from concept to conclusion. The aim: To reduce the “junk” in our watchlists so we are fishing in a better-stocked pool of shares. My editor wonders whether my obsession with Fundsmith Equity Fund… ...more
  • Performance measurement for pros 20th February 2019 by Richard Beddard - Investors tend to judge their portfolios by how much they go up or down in value, typically compared to a benchmark index like the FTSE All-Share, over perhaps a year. Taking a leaf out of Fundsmith Equity’s playbook, Richard thinks… ...more
  • Putting performance into perspective 5th February 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard reads Fundsmith Equity Fund’s annual letter to fundholders and suggests a modest improvement that could change your perception of financial history. He also responds to reader’s queries about On The Beach, the company he profiled two weeks ago. If… ...more
  • Starting with the big picture 23rd January 2019 by Richard Beddard - Richard starts his analysis of fast growing online beach holiday retailer On The Beach with new SharePad views designed to give him the big picture at a glance. Before I start dreaming about holidays, some humble pie. A few weeks… ...more
  • Assessing whether profit is real 10th January 2019 by Richard Beddard - On the face of it Ricardo is a great company, but in recent years its earnings have deviated a long way from the cold hard cash that has flowed into the company. That may be changing. Though I don’t normally… ...more
  • A SharePad for every occasion 21st December 2018 by Richard Beddard - Richard takes a break from company analysis and reveals a new layout for news, and reflects on some of the other tweeks he has used this year to make SharePad even easier to use. Season’s greetings! As the New Year approaches… ...more
  • Two good companies, but which is better? 17th December 2018 by Richard Beddard - Richard takes a first look at Softcat, and he likes what he sees, even in comparison to rival Computacenter, another fine business. Both companies make good money distributing IT, but in Softcat he may have spotted a company with a… ...more
  • Searching SharePad for something special 27th November 2018 by Richard Beddard - Richard Beddard investigates DotDigital in SharePad. The data indicates it has been very prosperous since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2011. A surge in investment suggests it intends to keep things that way. The starting point for… ...more
  • What really makes a great business? 14th November 2018 by Richard Beddard - To identify great businesses we must go beyond the numbers and understand what causes them. In this article I revisit 4Imprint, an investment I should have made in 2013, and a business probably still worthy of investment today. Back in… ...more
  • Evaluating a hot tip 2nd November 2018 by Richard Beddard - Psst, company XYZ is going great guns, it's shooting for the moon, get in before it is too late!!! In today's article, Richard uses SharePad to evaluate Clipper Logistics, a tip he received anonymously on the Internet. Tips passed online… ...more
  • When dull businesses come good 16th October 2018 by Richard Beddard - Stroll into a WH Smith and you might wonder why a shop that sells Sellotape, colouring books and slime (really!) exists today, but the company thrives. Smith’s creeping reinvention is an example to investors seeking to profit from businesses people… ...more
  • Filtering new issues 28th September 2018 by Richard Beddard - New issues have a reputation for delivering poor investment returns. In this article we filter SharePad for companies that may be more seasoned than they look. In my last article, I filtered SharePad for the firms that had been listed… ...more
  • The old ones are the good ones 11th September 2018 by Richard Beddard - Exciting news: Aston Martin is readying itself to float on the stock market. Investors should think twice though, before buying the shares. Typically, it is the most seasoned firms that make the best investments. This is how you can find… ...more
  • Building a base filter 30th August 2018 by Richard Beddard - To demonstrate how to filter in SharePad, we’ll build a base filter that filters out the shares we are least likely to be interested in. Our criteria will be personal, but the filtering technique can be applied to almost any… ...more
  • The perils of filtering stocks 20th August 2018 by Richard Beddard - This is the second article in the series “From ideas to investments” in which I look at the process of finding and evaluating investment ideas. Fishing for stocks using filtering, or stock screening, is a quick way to create a… ...more
  • How the stock market actually works 27th July 2018 by Richard Beddard - Today's article is the first in a new series called ‘From ideas to investments’ which takes an in-depth look at how to generate investment ideas from fundamental data and develop those ideas into profitable investments. We'll be looking at the… ...more
  • Motorpoint: A car dealer that stands out from the crowd 19th July 2018 by Richard Beddard - Financial statistics from SharePad and non-financial data from the company itself all indicate Motorpoint is no ordinary car dealer. If you’ve bought a vehicle from the company, or read its annual reports, you’ll probably know why. My article on Electrocomponents… ...more
  • When bad companies become good: IG Design 2nd July 2018 by Richard Beddard - IG Design, formerly International Greetings, is one of my biggest investment mistakes—even though I made a few quid on it. Since I sold my shares in International Greetings—as it was called then—in April 2014, the company’s share price has risen… ...more
  • Electrocomponents: Becoming First Choice 20th June 2018 by Richard Beddard - You don’t have to look far to discover Electrocomponents’ ambition. “BECOMING FIRST CHOICE” is the title of its annual report this year. But that strapline is one of the last things I found out about the company while evaluating the… ...more
  • Face-off: Tenpin versus Hollywood Bowl 5th June 2018 by Richard Beddard - Tenpin bowling chains are like London buses. You wait around for years and then two of them list almost at the same time. Phil Oakley has already reviewed the UK’s biggest operator, Hollywood Bowl, but there’s more to be learned… ...more
  • First steps to an inheritance tax-exempt portfolio 21st May 2018 by Richard Beddard - Investing in AIM-listed shares can help you reduce inheritance tax but you have to be picky. Not all shares qualify, and they must be good investments too. As usual, SharePad can help narrow down the field. What is an IHT-exempt… ...more
  • A new issue that is already a winner 8th May 2018 by Richard Beddard - Looking through the prisms of profitability, debt, cash flow, strategy and valuation, Strix may be an exception to the rule that new issues make bad investments. Finance professor Elroy Dimson and his colleagues made a startling find when they studied… ...more
  • AGMs – If in doubt, ask 23rd April 2018 by Richard Beddard - Most companies will answer questions from shareholders and potential shareholders. At Annual General Meetings shareholders have a right to ask questions and get answers. A large proportion of listed companies report full-year results in late winter and spring because their… ...more
  • Putting performance in perspective 9th April 2018 by Richard Beddard - To get a grip on where a company is going you have to understand where it has come from. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean reading every annual report. Usually, it’s not enough to read the latest annual report. To understand a… ...more
  • Working out what could go wrong with a share 26th March 2018 by Richard Beddard - Investors pin their hopes on what could go right. The great product. The winning strategy. The growing market. The new technology. These may be good reasons to own a share, but only if you have also considered what could go… ...more
  • Decrypting a company’s business model and strategy 13th March 2018 by Richard Beddard - While it’s comforting to know a business has enjoyed success, long-term investors must also form an opinion on its prospects if we’re to hold the shares through thick and thin. In How to read an annual report, I identified the… ...more
  • How to read an annual report 27th February 2018 by Richard Beddard - Rule number one in long-term investing is to understand how the businesses you expect to profit from will make money - otherwise, how can you be confident they will? Annual reports are the most complete source of public information on… ...more
  • The Terry Smith algorithm 14th February 2018 by Richard Beddard - In this article I’ve attempted to find Fundsmith-like companies using SharePad. The results are mixed but there’s a lot to be learned from the experiment. A letter from Terry If like me you hold units in Fundsmith, last month you… ...more
  • Using SharePad’s “Live” tables in your own spreadsheets 30th January 2018 by Richard Beddard - Maybe you already download tables of data from SharePad by clicking on the sharing button in SharePad's blue Table view, but this data is dead. It doesn't change in your spreadsheet if it changes in SharePad. Now there is a… ...more
  • Buy and build 15th January 2018 by Richard Beddard - If you take a look at Diploma through the lens of SharePad's summary page (under the green 'Financials' tab), you will find it shares many qualities of a good business. It has raised the dividend every year since 1999, a… ...more
  • Settings for the big picture 3rd January 2018 by Richard Beddard - Happy New Year! I've started mine by tidying up my many desktops: my physical desk, my laptop's desktop, and SharePad. I did so much experimenting with SharePad in 2017, I've overwhelmed the lists of settings. Settings are how we make… ...more
  • Two charts to unlock a company’s finances 6th December 2017 by Richard Beddard - By way of introducing two charts I'm routinely using to suss out how companies are financed - the twin pillars of debt and equity - I need to return briefly to my last article on hire firms. In the main, tool… ...more
  • The elusive hire firms you can buy and hold 14th November 2017 by Richard Beddard - Last week I introduced the listed plant and tool hire companies and mentioned in passing the industry has a bit of a boom bust reputation. Perhaps I didn't egg the pudding enough, though. Ashtead's market capitalisation is nearly £10bn, more than ten… ...more
  • Homing in on hire firms 7th November 2017 by Richard Beddard - Homing in on hire firms When business is sluggish at construction sites and factories, tools and equipment are returned and hire companies make less profit. The hire industry has a boom-bust reputation built on top of the boom-bust reputations of… ...more
  • Stock Watch: Abcam – is lower profitability worth paying for? 23rd October 2017 by Richard Beddard - Abcam shares are more popular than ever. Perhaps they're worth it. Nailed on growth stock There's no doubt Abcam has grown. In performance terms it's about ten times better than it was when it floated in November 2005. Revenue in… ...more
  • Finding companies that speak your language 4th October 2017 by Richard Beddard - Finding companies that speak your language It's a commonly held view that the only bits of financial reports worth paying attention to are the numbers at the back - in the profit loss account and balance sheet for example. For… ...more
  • Tech recruiter is statistically attractive, but is it special? 26th September 2017 by Richard Beddard - There are two questions I ask of all companies I might invest in. Do the statistics indicate the business is highly profitable and, if they do, can I identify what makes it special? SharePad can answer the first question, and… ...more
  • How I choose my next share using filters and charts 13th September 2017 by Richard Beddard - After many years of investment I still feel a sense of anticipation when I examine lists of shares looking for new opportunities. It's like opening a map to find new places to visit, or a menu at a restaurant that… ...more
  • Shares to hold to the grave, and beyond… 31st August 2017 by Richard Beddard - For my debut SharePad article, I've been invited to introduce my stockpicking strategy. It's a daunting prospect because strategy is everything. Without a strategy, luck or instinct will determine our returns and in the stock market neither can be relied… ...more