Regulations and Law

Woodford says “I’m sorry” – I don’t accept apology. WoodfordPayBack time is here.

The Sunday Telegraph has run a puff piece of PR for Neil Woodford in which he says, “I am sorry”. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/02/13/exclusive-neil-woodford-launch-comeback-fund-says-sorry-did/ Well, I am sorry too. I don’t accept Neil Woodford’s apology. WoodfordPayBack time is here. Woodford says that Link were wrong to close his fund, which led to a fire sale of many of his investments. I do at least agree with him on this. It is a scandal that events occurred so that shares in illiquid assets had to be sold at ...

The Courage to Act, or Not

Some of us have plenty of time to read good books while under lockdown rules. Here’s one I have been reading. It’s a memoir by Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve under the title “The Courage to Act”. It covers the major worldwide financial crisis of 2007/8 created by the defaults in sub-prime mortgages. The book includes a very good section on how that came about and how packaging up such mortgages eventually led to a complete lack of ...

Latest Woodford Press Coverage

Woodford continues to attract much press coverage and we have set up a Forum page for our members so that all those who are interested can quickly see all the latest news and can also access previous articles. The Forum link is https://www.sharesoc.org/forums/topic/latest-news/ If you visit this topic you can subscribe so that you can get an email when there is an update and/or a comment. This is done by clicking the "Subscribe" link at the top of the topic page. Also, if ...

0.1% shorting notification adopted by FCA – mirrors EU

On 6 January 2021, the Treasury published the Short Selling (Notification Thresholds) Regulations 2021 No. 5  to amend the notification threshold under Article 5(2) of the Short Selling Regulation from 0.2% to 0.1% of the issued share capital of an issuer. This change will come into force on 1 February 2021. This means that from 1 February 2021 the notification threshold for issued share capital of a company that has shares admitted to trading on a UK trading venue (UK Regulated Market and UK ...

Seminar on Woodford Legal Case

Yesterday evening I attended a webinar hosted by ShareSoc on a proposed legal action over the substantial losses suffered by investors in the Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF). It was chaired by Mark Northway and Cliff Weight with other speakers being Boz Michaelowska from legal firm Leigh Day and David Ricketts. The latter is a financial journalist who has written a book entitled “When the Fund Stops” which covers the past events at the Woodford funds and which will be published ...

FRC Seminars, Lookers Results, Caparo Judgement and Autonomy Case

I attended two seminars organised by ShareSoc and UKSA with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) yesterday (24/11/2020) and the day before. The first session was about the “ARGA transformation”, i.e. the steps being taken to improve the audits of companies and the reporting of accounts following the Kingman review two years ago. ARGA stands for Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority which will be the new name for the FRC. Before reporting on the meeting, it’s worth noting the latest example of how ...

Law Suit Launched Against Grant Thornton over Patisserie Valerie Audits

The Daily Telegraph and some other sources have reported that the liquidators of Patisserie Valerie (CAKE) have filed a claim in the High Court against Grant Thornton over the audits of Patisserie Valerie in the years before it went into administration. I reported previously that the accounts of Patisserie were a complete fiction – see Reference 1 below – with the assets of the firm overstated by more than £90 million. The liquidators are FRP Advisory and they have appointed lawyers Mischon de ...

Law Commission Review of Intermediated Securities

The Law Commission has published a “scoping paper” on Intermediated Securities (See Reference 1 below). This might sound a pretty dry technical subject but the subtitle of the report asks the important question – it covers “Who Owns Your Shares?” I have written about the problem of the growth in the use of nominee accounts as on-line platforms have replaced share certificates many times in the past. ShareSoc has a web page with voluminous information on this subject including reports written by ...

Chrysalis – Vote NO at 26 November General Meeting

Shareholders are excluded from this GM and there is no pre-meeting webinar to discuss these highly contentious proposals to wind up the VCT and distribute any monies raised (less administration fees, including payments to the failing fund manager and some directors). Several members of the ShareSoc VCT Investor Group (including Tim Grattan, Mark Lauber, Roger Lawson and myself) met on 10 Nov to discuss Chrysalis' plans. Our conclusion was that shareholders should vote against these proposals for the following reasons: Chrysalis is ...

Positive Markets but Platforms Letting Investors Down

Following Pfizer and BioNtech's announcement today that early results from Phase III trials of their Covid-19 vaccine suggested that the vaccine was safe and effective, markets generally have soared. Cyclical and leisure/travel stocks in particular have benefitted whereas certain others have suffered. With this market turbulence it is not surprising that many investors wanted to trade. However, I have seen widespread reports that certain major investment platforms, including Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell/YouInvest have buckled under the strain and are not allowing ...