FCA

Conviviality

It is a great name for a bar, but is a fancy name good for a quoted conglomerate plc? The shares were suspended on 14 March. The FCA and FRC need to look at this and asset managers need to think again why they missed the warning signs! Shares in the wholesaler and distributor of alcohol and impulse are now suspended as it considers the anticipated impact on its funding position of £30m due to HMRC. This business has looked questionable since ...

ShareSoc will Demand Action from the FCA over Account Switching Delays

Earlier this month I read this Times article concerning disgruntled clients of Barclays' Smart Investor platform. It highlights once again the longstanding issue that changing your provider of share trading services (stockbroker or platform) is often a painful process. It is not unusual for the switch to take several months, during which you may not be able to sell shares that you own or access funds held in your account. I find this unacceptable in the 21st century, when modern IT systems ought ...

Revenue Recognition, Patisserie Valerie, Utilitywise and Cryptocurrencies

Revenue recognition is a hot topic at present as folks have come to realise that this is a frequent cause of company accounts misrepresenting the true state of the business. Quindell and Blancco are two examples and I cover Utilitywise below. But first let me report on the Annual General Meeting of Patisserie Valerie (TIDM:CAKE) which I attended this morning (as a shareholder of course). The company operates a chain of cake+coffee shops under the company name but they also have several ...

Regulation of shareholder action groups following the debacle of the RBS case

Regulation of shareholder action groups following the debacle of the RBS case (see http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-5266449/Demand-probe-RBS-Shareholders-Action-Group.html ). As regards the suggestion that such groups be “regulated”, I do not see how that would necessarily assist to protect the interests of shareholders. Indeed, it might result in even more involvement of lawyers when one of the big problems is that legal firms often set up and run such groups and this is often in their interests rather than the claimants. Introducing regulation would also make ...

Private Investor Dialogue with the FRC

Following the success of the last year's FRC event (photo below) a date of 26th November 2018 has been agreed for a Private Investor Dialogue with the FRC. Please put the date in your diaries. More details will follow later in the year.   Click here to see the feedback survey results of last year’s event. The FRC were very pleased with the event and the feedback research. We continue to have regular meetings with the FRC and are increasingly being invited to ...

Want to Get Rich Quickly?

Do you sincerely want to be rich? That was the sales slogan used by fraudster Bernie Cornfeld which attracted many. Or perhaps even better, do you want to sincerely get rich quickly? That is in essence the sales pitch used by many promoters of CFDs (Contracts for Difference). CFDs are geared investments in stock market shares, bitcoins, commodities or any volatile instrument where you can magnify your profits many times. Or, of course, magnify your losses. You can, to put it simply, ...

FRC Corporate Governance Consultation and FCA Consultation on Competition

The FRC has launched a consultation on the Corporate Governance Code. https://www.frc.org.uk/consultation-list/2017/consulting-on-a-revised-uk-corporate-governance-co The FCA has launched a Consultation on Competition https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/corporate/our-approach-competition.pdf ShareSoc will most likely be making a joint response with the UK Shareholders’ Association to both of these consultations. You are welcome to send your views to cliff.weight@sharesoc.org . Peter Parry and I will consider them in making our response. You are also welcome to submit your own comments/response directly to the FRC/FCA, but please state that they are your views (you cannot assume that ...

ULS Technology, Keystone Law and Collusion on IPO Pricing

Yesterday I attended an interim results presentation by ULS Technology (ULS). They have been listed on AIM for a couple of years and have grown both from organic increases in revenue and from acquisitions which is often a good formula. They operate in the legal conveyancing and estate agency market where volumes have not been great of late – it seems house prices have made it difficult for folks to move plus changes to stamp duty and buy-to-let taxes have deterred ...

Round up on recent FRC and FCA developments

Our event at the FRC on 21 November, when the FRC will explain what they do and listen to members’ feedback, is a sellout and we are now operating a waiting list. Below is a roundup of recent FRC and FCA developments, to inform attendees and help guide questioning. FRC says corporate reporting could still be improved In its annual review of corporate reporting, the FRC said disclosures by large listed UK companies are generally good but detailed explanations and clarity could still ...

Barclays Stockbroking Complaints

Several newspapers and on-line news services have reported this week on the debacle at Barclays. They launched a new “Smart Investor” site to replace their Barclayshare share trading service. The complaints range from failure to advise new account log-in details, support service uncontactable, old features missing (or perhaps simply moved elsewhere and not easily found in some cases), higher charges (fees restructured), to some account types or share holdings being no longer permitted. Barclays have integrated it with their on-line bank account ...