Regulations and Law

Lloyds Shareholders Lose Case

After many months of deliberation, a judge in the High Court has rejected the claims by former Lloyds TSB shareholders over the takeover of HBOS and recapitalisation of the company by the Government. That resulted in major capital losses to Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) shareholders and suspension of the dividends which many private shareholders relied on for income. For those not familiar with the case, this stems from the events in 2008/9 when all banks came under severe financial pressure. HBOS was ...

FRC: Individual Shareholders Engagement Meeting 5 Nov 2019

This was an excellent event, well organised by the FRC with about 80 attendees from ShareSoc and the UK Shareholders' Association. It is very reassuring to hear the underlying messages now coming from the FRC. The significant change of approach on transparency is very much to be applauded. It is also clear that oversight of audit quality is receiving much more attention. Following hard on the heels of yesterday's presentation from David Rule, I was very pleased to see today's news alert, ...

Law Commission Error on Segregated Accounts

In a previous blog post on the Law Commission’s consultation on Intermediated Securities I queried their claim that all investors in nominee accounts had the option to use a segregated account (i.e. a “designated account” where your name is on the share register, not just the nominee operator’s). They claim this is mandated by an EU regulation. This is extremely important because a simple “pooled” nominee account that most stockbrokers use does not give you clear ownership of the shares. If ...

Woodford, Buffett Bot and FRC Survey

There was a very good article in the FT on Saturday on the “rise and fall of a rock star fund manager”, i.e. Neil Woodford. Essential reading for those who...

Woodford and Hargreaves Lansdown

To follow up on my previous blog post over the collapse of Woodford Investment Management and how to avoid dud managers, the focus has now turned in the national media upon Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.). Investors who have lost a lot of money, and now won’t be able to get their remaining cash out for some time, are looking for who to blame. Neil Woodford is one of course, but what about investment platforms such HL? The Woodford Equity Income Fund was on ...

Burford – a chance to clear out the stables or a case of nothing to see?

The Burford Capital soap opera rumbles on, and for those who don’t hold shares, the temptation to ignore the story, or even worse, fall into the lazy belief that “there’s no smoke without fire” is tempting. However, the Burford story is much more interesting, and important, than that. Burford's Case A brief recap. On 6 August, a US firm known as Muddy Waters tweeted that it would announce a new short position the next day. Rumours swirled the market and a number of ...

An Update on SVS Securities

On 5th August the FCA announced that broker SVS Securities had entered Special Administration. Once again, as in the case of Beaufort Securities, this is a situation that will cause great concern and, at a minimum, some inconvenience, for SVS clients. Whilst a firm is in special administration, clients are not able to trade securities held on their behalf, or access money held on their behalf, including dividend payments. It is disappointing that it has taken until 12th September for clients to receive ...

EDGE – Another VCT Problem Case

At this years AGM on 28 Aug 2109, 3 directors were voted out, Sir Robin Miller, Lord Flight and David Glick. ShareSoc has been critical of this VCT for some time, see https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/vcts/edge-performance-vct-the-worst-show-on-earth/ https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/vcts/edge-vct-trick-treat-pair-rnss/ https://www.sharesoc.org/agm-reports/edge-performance-vct/ https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/company-news//a-couple-of-problem-vcts-foresight-4-and-edge-performance/ Shareholder dissent continued and at this years AGM on 28 Aug 2109, 3 directors were voted out, Sir Robin Miller, Lord Flight and David Glick and various other motions were defeated. Proxy votes cast were as follows: Resolution For Against Withheld 2. Approve directors' remuneration report 1,770,628 3,106,545 47,968 3. Re-elect Sir Robin Miller 1,725,784 3,140,268 59,089 4. Re-elect Lord Flight 1,659,996 3,206,056 59,089 5. Re-elect David Glick 1,715,071 3,183,421 26,649 6. Re-appoint Grant Thornton UK LLP as auditor 2,147,140 2,751,352 26,649 8. Authorise directors ...

Burford, GE and Media Regulation

As most readers will be aware, Burford Capital (BUR) has been under attack by Muddy Waters over its accounts, corporate governance and other matters. Muddy Waters, led by Carson Block, has been shorting the stock. Now we have a similar attack on venerable US company General Electric (GE) who have been accused by Harry Markopolos of false accounting over liabilities on long-term care insurance policies. This caused the share price of GE to drop by 11% on one day last week. ...

Voting Problems, Computershare, Albion Venture Capital and PLAIN ENGLISH.

By Cliff Weight Computershare have refused to accept a vote instruction for the Albion Venture Capital AGM, because it was sent to them electronically. It was signed, scanned and sent to them by email. They say that the meeting notice says what form the instruction must be sent and this overrides the Companies Act, CA2006 S333. The notice says the instruction must be sent to Computershare, but does not say how (see below for the precise wording used). In this modern age, surely ...