PRESS RELEASE 59
New boards elected at Oxford Technology VCTs, after campaign by ShareSoc.
Today all four of the Oxford Technology VCTs held their Annual General Meetings.
The meetings were well attended as Oxford Technology VCT (OXT) and Oxford Technology 3 VCT (OTT) previously had their VCT status withdrawn by HMRC, although this has now been temporarily “set aside” while an appeal is processed. ShareSoc formed a “Shareholder Action Group” with a committee of interested shareholders to make representations on this matter and protect their interests.
We also pushed for changes to the corporate governance of these VCTs including changes in the directors (see the note dated the 1st July on this web page: https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/oxford-technology-vcts/ where the history of events is documented).
Today the boards of these companies elected new directors, with two new directors (Alex Starling and Richard Roth) on OXT and one new director (Robin Goodfellow) on OTT. Alex Starling will become the Chairman of OXT and Robin Goodfellow will become the Chairman of OTT. Shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of these changes and for all the other resolutions based on the proxy counts.
Lucius Cary, the fund manager has resigned as a director of OTT and OXT but will remain a director of the other two Oxford Technology VCTs.
ShareSoc Deputy Chairman Roger Lawson had this to say on the above changes: “I welcome these changes and the appointment of Robin Goodfellow, who was one of the Shareholder Action Group committee members, is particularly appreciated. This campaign, ably led by Tim Grattan, has demonstrated how effective a shareholder group can be in tackling problem companies and situations. But as I raised at the AGMs today, the boards of these companies do need to tackle the issue of the long term under-performance of these VCTs in addition to ensure the VCT status issue is satisfactorily concluded (as now seems likely).”
Note that ShareSoc will be issuing a full report, including more comments, on these AGMs which will be available here to all our full members and to campaign supporters as soon as possible. ShareSoc is one of the few sources of information on the AGMs of companies and these reports often contain a lot of useful information for shareholders.
Postscript: on 12/9/2014 the two affected companies announced that the changes required by HMRC to enable them to retain VCT status have been achieved and accepted by HMRC.