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The shambles at PLUS Markets continues. In my blog of 14 May 2012 I included the following extract from a letter from Mark Hoban MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in response to my request for a public enquiry into this situation:
“…the sale of PLUS Markets is a commercial rather than a regulatory matter. PLUS Markets is a public company, and the FSA’s oversight as a supervisor does not extend to this matter, which is for the company and its shareholders to determine.”
I said that this was “utter nonsense”. So what has happened since?
1. PLUS Markets announced its results yesterday for the twelve months ending 31 December 2011. Turnover £2.9mn, loss £2.56mn. Cash balances down from £5.89mn. a year earlier to £2.38mn.
2. The proposed sale to ICAP has incensed shareholders. Led by Simon Chapman, a well known City figure, who owns more than 3% of the shares, there are serious questions over the £423,000 ‘settlement costs’ to two of the directors and £960,000 to the advisers.
3. Last night PLUS Markets was forced to put out an announcement saying it had received valid notices seeking to remove the Interim chairman and the chief executive officer and that it is proposing to cancel its AIM trading facility and will not implement any alternative facility. The shares fell significantly.
4. On 1st June 2012 a PLUS Markets announcement included a statement that “following completion ICAP” (the proposed purchaser) “will engage with all stakeholders including Government agencies and regulators about how PLUS-SX could provide this function” (a reference to raising funds for growth capital).
These are the questions which I invite Mr. Hoban to consider:
a) There are 145 companies whose shares are traded on PLUS Markets. For weeks they have faced great uncertainty. Is that the face of London’s financial services that Mr. Hoban wishes to show to the rest of the world?
b) PLUS Markets is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They are responsible for the conduct of PLUS Markets. Is Mr. Hoban satisfied that the FSA has exercised its responsibilities with urgency and foresight?
c) The directors of PLUS Markets will be themselves regulated by the FSA as individuals (CF1 and CF3). Has the FSA been satisfied all along with their exercising of their responsibilities?
d) How can ICAP be considered as a purchaser by the FSA if they don’t have a business plan?
The PLUS Markets AGM is on 29 June 2012. Then the Olympics and the party conferences. When will the FSA and the Treasury step in and put an end to this situation which is damaging the financial reputation of the City and is removing an engine of growth for the UK.
Is this Mr. Hoban “a commercial rather than a regulatory matter?”
It’s a shambles and you know it.
By Tony Drury
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
- Christmas Lunch in the Cotswolds on December 7, 2013 12:30 pm
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