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Daily Telegraph: Don't snub private investors, companies warned

By Paul Farrow (Filed: 25/01/2006)
The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers has fired off letters to the head of every FTSE350 company urging them not to snub private investors in corporate deals.
With merger and acquisition activity on the rise, Apcims fears that private investors could be left out of pocket when companies restructure – as happened last year when Royal Dutch merged with Shell Transport & Trading. The letter also coincides with the flotation of Qinetiq, the government-owned defence company, which excludes private investors.
Angela Knight, the chief executive of Apcims, said: “Investors have fallen off companies' radar. Shareholding is not just for institutions. ”
Knight is calling for companies to use loan notes to help investors mitigate capital gains tax bills and to give greater voting rights to nominee shareholders. She said: “It is unfair that, as a result of company reorganisation, merger, or takeover, private investors face CGT bills where there has been no change of ownership in the underlying shares. It is noticeable that some plcs have made sure that loan notes are available while others have not.”
Last year the Sunday Telegraph revealed that hundreds of shareholders in Royal Dutch faced huge CGT bills as a result of the Shell merger. Shell eventually backed down by offering loan notes but the deal came too late for many who had already agreed to swap their old shares for equity in the unified company.

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