I have (belatedly) decided to register with PrimaryBid and spotted that if I would you like my shares to be settled and delivered to my Stockbroker TD Waterhouse electronically, I would be charged £20 per occasion for this service.
However, it would be free if I got my shares delivered to a Sharedeal Active Nominee Account. They invited me to apply and to read their small print. Which was when I spotted this shocker (!), of charges:
• Attendance at Shareholders Meetings/Proxy votes/ Letters of Representation: £20.00 per occasion.
My preferred stockbroker, TD Waterhouse (now owned by Interactive Investor Limited), does not charge for voting. It informs me promptly of events requiring my attention and provides letters of representation at no cost. So why cannot ShareDeal do the same?
ShareSoc members will be aware of our campaign to improve the shareholder rights, which have been eroded by Government action and the industry’s lies about the convenience and cost savings of using nominee accounts.
There needs to be the name of the beneficial owner of the shares as well as the name of the nominee on the share register, which should also include their email. It should not be too difficult for the registrar and the nominee to co-ordinate and find a suitable solution, but Government needs to mandate that they must do so. Australia have already found a solution, so we can learn from them.
Another good idea would be for companies to be allowed to correspond with shareholders (including those who hold them in nominee accounts) by email (or some other sensible electronic system), if the shareholder so wishes. And all Nominees should find ways so that all shareholders wishing to vote can do so easily, quickly and securely.
I have written today to ShareDeal to request “that you remove the £20 per occasion fee that you currently impose in respect of Attendance at Shareholders Meetings/Proxy votes/ Letters of Representation. I think by continuing to have this charge you will attract negative publicity that is not in your best commercial interests.” I shall await with interest their reaction.