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Skipton ponders return to share dealing

Skipton Building Society is considering re-entering the share-dealing market.

Chief executive John Goodfellow told a City briefing last week that he is interested in launching a new dealing facility following Skipton’s lucrative four-year spell of running a share-dealing business in the late 1990s.

Skipton sold Dealwise to TD Waterhouse in May 2000 for 82m after buying it for 3.6m in 1996. The deal brought a windfall payment for the soc-iety’s 600,000 members.

The sale took place just as the stockmarket reached its peak. Goodfellow says he made an offer to buy back Dealwise earlier this year for around the same amount that Skipton paid for the firm in 1996 but his offer was rejected.

He says: “Nothing has been approved yet by the board but I firmly believe we should go back into this, offering it directly to customers. I expect to be share dealing by the end of the year.”

Goodfellow revealed that the society has seen a big rise in profits of 79.7m, up by 21.9m on the previous year.

Capital Economics property economist Ed Stansfield says: “With rental yields between 5 and 6 per cent, clearly not getting capital growth, you could do better with your money in building societies and even in shares through building societies. But even the most optimistic spokesman is predicting a stagnant market in shares. We predict more downturn than stagnation and believe the economy will be a lot less buoyant over the next 12 to 18 months.”

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