Regulations and Law

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 ...

Is the FRC doing a good job?

By Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc. I think the FRC is doing a much better job. The record fine for Deloitte re Autonomy, (see Compliance Week: FRC fines Deloitte record $19.4M for Autonomy audit failures ) and the fines at Redcentric and Redcentric's auditors, and the prosecutions of former Redcentric directors in Southwark Crown Court are further evidence that things are changing. As is the transitioning from FRC into ARGA. But don't take my word for it. Come to the FRC events we have organised ...

Changing auditors’ responsibility for detecting fraud

by Mohammed Amin MBE FRSA MA FCA AMCT CTA (Fellow). This article was first published in UKSA’s Newsletter, The Private Investor, and is reproduced with the author’s permission. The Expectations Gap After almost every major corporate reporting failure, arguments arise about the "expectations gap". This is the gap between what shareholders, creditors, employees and journalists think that auditors should be doing, and what auditors consider they are actually required to do. This expectations gap is particularly acute in cases where there has been fraud. The ...

Preventing Fraud in Accounts – FRC Tightens Audit Rules

There have been repeated examples of the accounts of public companies being fraudulent in recent years. Wirecard was probably the latest and biggest example. I have seen examples of such misdeeds twice in my investment career in my own holdings although losses have been minimal in both cases, the last example being Patisserie (£95 million missing from their accounts). But I have avoided a lot of others where the losses to some investors have been enormous. There have simply been too ...

ShareSoc+UKSA make joint response to HM Treasury consultation ‘Regulatory Framework for Approval of Financial Promotions’

Peter Parry, ShareSoc member and former Policy Director at the UK Shareholders Association writes about the joint submission by the UK Shareholders Association and ShareSoc to the HM Treasury consultation ‘Regulatory Framework for Approval of Financial Promotions' Financial promotions – a case study in how not to delegate. The Consultation Another day and another consultation lands in the inbox. This one’s from HM Treasury - titled ‘Regulatory Framework for Approval of Financial Promotions’. Sounds boring? Maybe, but the issue under review is actually a ...

Share Centre Future and FT Spoofing Article 

The Share Centre recently advised their customers of “Our Future with Interactive Investor”. It gave details of the transfer of accounts to the Interactive Investor platform following the acquisition of the Share Centre business. However they failed to point out one important point which customers need to be aware of. Share Centre ISAs are “Flexi ISAs”. This means that you can take cash out of the ISA and put it back in so long as you do it in the same tax ...

Regulating Consumer Investments and Company Register Reform

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have launched a consultation on the Consumer Investment Market. They consider it a priority to reduce the harm that many consumers suffer from fraud in this sector. The FCA has this to say: “We have made significant improvements to this market to protect consumers. But there are over 5,000 financial adviser firms and more than 27,000 individual advisers acting as intermediaries between the consumer and their investment. Dominated by small firms, these complex chains of interdependent products ...