Regulations and Law

Giving Personal Shareowners a Voice

"Giving Personal Shareowners a Voice" was the title of a meeting yesterday (3/7/2014) organised by Gavin Oldham of The Share Centre. It was organised to discuss a number of concerns about shareholder engagement with companies and the rights of individual shareholders. It was attended by a number of "stakeholders" interested in this area including representatives from the BIS, FRC, WMA, Wider Share Ownership Council, ShareAction, UKSA, ICSA, a number of journalists and myself representing ShareSoc. The first topic covered was the failure ...

Fiduciary Duty and Intermediated Securities Report – A Bombshell at the End

The Law Commission was asked to undertake a review of how the law of fiduciary duties applies to investment intermediaries and to evaluate whether the law works in the interests of end investors. This followed a recommendation in the Kay Review undertaken by Professor John Kay where he attacked the excessive "intermediation" in financial markets, the lack of clarity of responsibility, the difficulties trustees have in interpreting their duties and related factors that seemed to be undermining the ethics of financial ...

Magna Carta and Bank Nationalisations

There was an interesting letter in the Financial Times on Saturday (14/6/2014) from Prof. Tim Congdon.  As a former Northern  Rock shareholder he pointed out that the latest results from Northern Rock Asset Management (the "bad" part of the bank that was left after the good part was sold off to Virgin) showed underlying profits of £1.16bn. So it has achieved profits of almost £3bn in the last 39 months and is likely to generate a few more billion before the ...

Quindell – and how to avoid the shorters

Quindell, a company operating in the insurance sector, came under attack yesterday by Gotham City Research LLC, an investment analysis firm. Quindell's shares ended down on the day by 39% and were down more than 50% at one point. Gotham City make numerous allegations in a 74-page document which is available from their web site. Without a lot more knowledge of this company and a detailed study of these allegations, it is impossible to comment on the substance of them, but some ...

Changes to Company Regulations

Today on Bank Holiday Easter Monday, the Government announced some changes to company regulations. Does this show how they work all the days of the year to improve the UK business environment, or they thought it a good time to announce controversial proposals? You can judge for yourselves the answer to that question after reading what follows. But as most of the proposals were well flagged in advance by past public consultations, they may only be controversial to those companies who ...

Insurance companies and Kentz

With the attack by the Government on annuities in the budget and the revelation that the FCA is to look into the treatment of some policyholders such as those in "closed" funds, both investors in these companies and their directors must be somewhat incensed. Indeed the Financial Times reported this morning that half a dozen of the City's top institutional investors have consulted a leading law firm over alleged "market abuse" in the way the latter review was disclosed. It seems ...

Crowdfunding rules confirmed

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) undertook  a consultation on tighter regulation of  crowdfunding last December. It was clear that technologic innovation to support both debt and equity capital raising via on-line platforms was often unregulated and that as a results investors might be duped into investing in dubious propositions.  The FCA have now covered the results of the consultation and published the detail rules that will apply in future - which are much the same as they consulted on. See www.fca.org.uk/news/firms/ps14-04-crowdfunding ...

Blinkx – more market abuse in AIM stocks?

The Blinkx share price reached a peak of 218p on the 6th January, but yesterday (30/1/2014), it closed down 33%. At one point it was as low as 90p. This followed the publication of a blog post by Benjamin Edelman under the heading "The Darker Side of Blinkx" which attacked various aspects of the company's operations. Blinkx sells advertising linked to on-line videos, supported by a video search engine (it originally spun out of Autonomy). Edelman, who is an associate professor at ...

Eurofinuse adopts manifesto

Eurofinuse, a representative body for European shareholder organisations of which ShareSoc is a Member, has adopted a "Better Finance Manifesto". They are launching this before the European Parliament elections in May to try and influence politicians to adopt policies to protect savers and investors over the coming years.Although some of the manifesto policies are focussed on problems in other countries in Europe than the UK, there are many meritorious aspects. Here's just a few of the issues they cover:1. That there ...

Silverdell Shareholder Meeting Report

There was a meeting attended by about 20 Silverdell shareholders in Beckenham on the 20th January. A report of the meeting is present here: www.sharesoc.org/Silverdell_Shareholder_Meeting_Report.pdfIt covered what was known about the events at this AIM company, where the shares were suspended out of the blue, and delisted 6 months later with not much communication to shareholders in the meantime. The company has announced that the shares are worthless. Also discussed was what actions shareholders might take at this point in time and ...