A Noob Mistake When I Bought London Stocks

Published on March 3, 2020

I made my first investment in London stocks during the recent market correction.

I had been wanting to buy London stocks because:

  1. Many high dividends stocks (eg Royal Dutch Shell 8%, Aviva 8%)
  2. No tax withholding on the dividends
  3. Compared to Singapore’s, GBP is now cheaper

And so I made 2 trades!

But something was amiss in my portfolio, which is held in Standard Chartered Bank.

The market value is a mere $60 SGD, when it should be $6,000.

I thought the system has a bug.

I slept over it. Then a few days later I came to realize my mistake.

The mistake: GBp vs GBP

If you see in Yahoo Finance for Royal Dutch Shell, the currency is in GBp. As of 3-Mar-2020, the price is 1,712 GBp.

(Or in Standard Chartered trading platform, the currency is somehow GBX.)

The small p in GBp is pence, or a penny.

The big P in GBP is Pound Sterling, that is our 1 dollar. And of course 1 dollar = 100 pence. 1£ = 100p.

So, stock prices in London Stock Exchange are in GBp. I have assumed they are in pounds..

However, my settlement account currency is in GBP. So are other financial numbers such as market cap, revenue, etc, are in GBP.

I don’t know why London is special confusing in this way.

This will go down as a funny story where I was so proud when I bought 1 share of Royal Dutch Shell. 😂