Regulations and Law

Redcentric: Unprecedented Progress for Shareholders – At Last

Two Cheers for the FCA in the Case of Redcentric Two cheers for the FCA: they have achieved a positive outcome for shareholders affected by the case, and have been pragmatic, albeit after a very long time. It is also good to see the other objective of our campaign potentially achieved - of prosecuting individuals for their alleged misdemeanors. Such actions are essential to deter others from criminal activity. Background Redcentric has been an extraordinary case. They key issues at the time when serious ...

Electronic AGMs and Voting

Several companies in which I hold shares are proposing to adopt new Articles of Association at their Annual General Meetings. These typically are amended to enable the holding of “virtual”, i.e. electronic ones, or “hybrid” meetings where a physical venue (or multiple ones) are also used. They can do that legally at present under the emergency regulations put in place by the Government but they are clearly anticipating a more common use of such capabilities now that everyone is more practised ...

Learning Technologies and Ten Entertainment AGMs

I “attended” the on-line Annual General Meeting of Learning Technologies Group (LTG) today. Full members of ShareSoc can find my report on that meeting here: https://www.sharesoc.org/agm-reports/learning-technologies-agm-report-2020/ Another recent AGM of an AIM company was that of bowling alley operator Ten Entertainment (TEG) for which I hold all of 50 shares. I sold almost all my holding before they had to close all their venues. This was another company that did a placing recently but it is hardly surprising in this case that ...

Why the FCA Did Nothing About the Lloyds TSB Abuse

Those who were Lloyds TSB shareholders back in 2009 when they merged with HBOS to form Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) thought it was bad deal at the time and it certainly turned out to be so. HBOS had many dubious loans to property companies and when the banking crisis arose they were in deep financial difficulty. There seemed very little benefit in the merger for Lloyds shareholders Subsequently a legal action was launched by the disgruntled Lloyds TSB shareholders which was lost ...

The New Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

The Government has introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill into Parliament. This is quite an important piece of legislation for share investors and for property investors. Insolvency practitioners will also be interested as it makes substantial changes to that area. It’s had very little media coverage though as the news channels are swamped by coronavirus news, debate over Dominic Cummings breaking the lock-down (or not depending on your point of view) and Brexit news. The Bill is being “fast tracked” through ...

Eurasia Erasure

by Mark Lauber, Director, ShareSoc Eurasia Mining is a junior mining company listed on the AIM market. Having traded in a range of 0.4 to 0.7p for the last two years, it spiked up in October 2019, reaching a price of 7.2p by the time it was suspended on 11 February. The reason given for the suspension was that clarification of the relationship with CITIC was required. On 9 April a further RNS was issued, stating that WH Ireland had resigned as Nomad, ...

Slave to the Algorithm: Burford and the Importance of Maintaining Confidence in a Broken System

On 1 October 2019 I wrote an article about Burford in which I said that their application to obtain, from the LSE, details of how trades in their shares were placed and then apparently cancelled last August was a rare opportunity to discover whether market manipulation is endemic on the LSE. It is important to highlight that this case is not about Burford, which has become a divisive company. It is nothing to do with whether the claims made by Muddy ...

Dividends Slashed, Investing for Income, NMC Health and Finablr

Many companies are announcing cancelled, reduced or postponed dividends – two of the latest were Shell (RDSB) and Sainsburys (SBRY). This will hit investors hard who rely on dividends for retirement income. But should they be doing so? Terry Smith of Fundsmith had an article published in the Financial Times today under the headline “Investors: never let a crisis go to waste” in which he attacks income funds. In particular he questions whether the Investment Association should allow funds with “income” in ...

AGMs – Best practice needs to evolve

There needs to be a review of the guidance on company AGMs. In these difficult and uncertain times it is vitally important that companies continue to engage with investors, that they keep them up to date with events and foster their support and commitment. Never has the importance of the AGM been so high. It is now a month since the current lockdown due to Covid-19 was introduced. This has coincided with a particularly busy period in the annual reporting season with ...

Market Manipulation? The Burford Case

In this article from October last year, ShareSoc director Paul de Gruchy sets out the allegations Burford has made about manipulation of its shares, during a "shorting attack". Many ShareSoc members are concerned that the FCA is not adequately enforcing the market abuse regime, which is intended to deter market manipulation (whether long or short). Burford's case has now reached a critical juncture. Burford have asked the court for a "Norwich Pharmacal Order", to compel the LSE to disclose the identity of traders ...