Regulations and Law

Brexit Prevarication, The Company, Sarbanes-Oxley and Patisserie Holdings (CAKE)

Prevarication definitions: delaying giving someone an answer, or avoiding telling the whole truth. Theresa May’s suggestion for an extension of the Brexit transition period surely smacks of prevarication and all sides of the Brexit debate saw it for what it was. The result is some furious back-peddling by the Prime Minister. Putting off decisions usually does not make them any easier. It is not at all clear what the PM’s strategy is here. Was she perhaps hoping to put off Brexit ...

Meeting with Link Asset Services

I recently attended a meeting with Link Asset Services who claim to be the largest UK share registrar. In addition to me there were two senior managers from Link and two ShareSoc directors (Mark Northway and Mark Bentley). ShareSoc and I do of course have a long-standing interest in ensuring shareholders can and do vote their shares at General Meetings. Other matters discussed were the problems created by nominee accounts, in the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD), in the Central Securities Deposit ...

FCA investigations of hidden fees.

34 fund managers are being investigated for ‘hiding’ their fees according to a story in the Sunday Times on 7 October, see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/34-fund-managers-investigated-for-hiding-their-fees-l6kjwqhrz  An investigation has been launched into 34 pension and investment companies for failing to meet new rules that force them to disclose the true cost of their funds. This is the first time the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has taken action against firms for not adopting rules intended to make it easier for savers to assess and ...

finnCap Cracks the Whip at Akers Bioscience

Akers Bioscience (AKR) issued a most unusual announcement this morning: https://www.investegate.co.uk/akers-biosciences--akr-/rns/directorate-change---other-information/201810080700052072D/ Of particular interest is this statement: finnCap Ltd, the Company's Nominated Adviser on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, gave the Company formal three months' notice of its resignation as the Company's Nominated Adviser and Broker on October 6, 2018. finnCap has also informed the Company that its resignation will be accelerated so as to take immediate effect if the whole Board of Directors does not attend an AIM Rules briefing ...

The Impact on Investors of Labour’s Plans

I commented briefly yesterday on the plans by John McDonnell of the Labour Party to give employees shares and possible future nationalisations – see: https://roliscon.blog/2018/09/24/labours-plans-for-confiscation-of-shares-and-rail-system-renationalisation/ More information is now available on the share scheme and the more one studies it the more one realises that whoever devised it does not understand much about business and the stock market. In other words they were typical politicians with no experience of the real world I would guess. The scheme would apparently operate by companies with ...

Brexit, Abcam, Victoria and the Beaufort Case

Another bad day for my portfolio yesterday after a week of bad days last week when I was on holiday. Some of the problems relate to the rise in the pound based on suggestions by Michel Barnier that there might actually be a settlement of Brexit along the lines proposed by Theresa May. This has hit all the companies with lots of exports and investment trusts with big holdings in dollar investments that comprise much of my portfolio. But a really ...

Insolvency Regime Changes – A Step Forward

There’s nothing like issuing a major Government announcement on the Sunday of an August bank holiday weekend to get good media coverage is there? But as it’s raining and I have nothing much else to do, I have read the announcement and here is a summary: The announcement is entitled “Insolvency and Corporate Governance – Government Response” (see https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/insolvency-and-corporate-governance ). It is the Government’s response to past public consultations on how to tackle some of the perceived problems when companies get into ...

Stopping Another Beaufort Case

Readers are probably aware of the administration of stockbroker Beaufort, how PwC are running up enormous bills to the disadvantage of creditors and how they also claimed to be able to charge the bills against client assets under the Special Administration Rules. See here for more information if you are not familiar with this debacle: https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/beaufort-client-campaign/ I hope all stock market investors have already written to their Members of Parliament on this topic, not just to get the Special Administration Rules changed ...

8pm Tuesday, 7 August, the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘The Equity Release Trap’.

Make a date in your diary for 8pm Tuesday, 7 August, for the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘The Equity Release Trap’. The documentary investigates the claims of Professor Kevin Dowd, professor of finance and economics at the University of Durham, that the equity release sector has been seriously under-valuing embedded guarantees, and that the regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, has only made half-hearted attempts to address these under-valuations while permitting them anyway. The implications for some of the firms involved could ...

Lax Regulation (Globo, GRG) and Japanese Trust AGM

Globo was one of those AIM companies that turned out to be a complete fraud. Back in December 2015 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced an investigation into the audits of the company by Grant Thornton (GT). Even the cash reported on the balance sheet in the consolidated accounts of the parent company proved to be non-existent (or had been stolen perhaps). I have previously complained about the slow progress and the lack of any information on this investigation. But former shareholders ... Read more