Scrapping Share Certificates and Clive Sinclair Obituary

The Government is to push ahead with the scrapping of paper share certificates. An announcement yesterday by Lord Frost included this in a bonfire of regulations which also included plans to scrap driving licences (i.e. making them digital only). The dematerialisation of shares was long ago committed to by an EU directive with no new paper certificates to be issued by 2023 and all existing ones replaced by 2025.

There are many share certificates still held by investors – for example I still hold a few, mainly for VCT companies which I have never bothered to dematerialise. A paper share certificate at least ensures you are on the share register of a company and hence are a “member” with full shareholder rights. A replacement system which ensures you retain those rights rather than shares being held in a stockbroker’s nominee system is required but plans for implementation of such a system have been slow in appearing.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/brexit-opportunities-regulatory-reforms for the announcement.

Inventor and businessman Sir Clive Sinclair has died at the age of 81. He developed early calculators, digital watches and the ZX81 and Spectrum personal computers. The latter were the first popular home computers in the UK sold at a price almost everyone could afford (less than £100). I fondly remember playing video games on a Spectrum but they were not much use for anything else. The keyboard was a single sheet of rubber and not fit for much at all.

Despite these short-lived commercial impacts, he never developed these businesses into long-term successes and even proceeded to destroy his reputation with the Sinclair C5 electric vehicle.

He provided a very good example of how in Britain we have good technology innovators but not good businessmen who can develop a company and conquer the world with superior sales and marketing.

Sir Clive seemed to always want to move on to new inventions rather than concentrating on making money from existing ones and doing the boring work involved in developing existing products and markets. Therefore in essence a flawed personality in many ways.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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