It has been reported by Sky News and the FT that the vote on the acquisition of Interactive Investor by Abrdn (ABDN) has had to be delayed. The reason is simply that there is a shortage of paper it is suggested. Abrdn have about 1.1 million shareholders and the offer document is 120 pages long. Company law requires the document to be sent to everyone on the share register, and quite rightly you may so for such an important transaction.
Does this not highlight the absurdity though that email addresses are not held on share registers, only postal addresses. Some shareholders may prefer a paper document but most might prefer an option to receive it electronically, particularly as they are unlikely to read the whole 120 pages.
It is surely time to update the Companies Act to ensure all shareholders (including beneficial owners currently in nominee accounts) are on the share register with an email address. This would save companies a large amount of money and improve communication between companies and their investors. The absence of an email address also thwarts the ability of shareholders to communicate with other shareholders at reasonable cost which was a basic principle of Company Law since Victorian times.
Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )
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