I attended the National Grid Annual General Meeting in Birmingham yesterday. Unfortunately I was not allowed to ask a question as the organisation that I was representing as a proxy put my son’s name on it rather than mine so I was only allowed in as a “guest”. I will do a fuller report on the event for the ShareSoc Members’ Network later today, but it was not a particularly exciting event this year. Not a single shareholder complained about the outrageously high pay of the executive directors. The Chairman was both dogmatic and condescending to the mainly private shareholders who attended – he could certainly do with some advice on how to handle such meetings. His boring presentation was read out from a script, and contained not a single joke to lighten the event so far as I recall. But I did learn some useful information.
Rensburg AIM VCT
I was on my way to Birmingham when I learned that the Rensburg AIM VCT AGM scheduled for today (the 22nd July) had been cancelled. In the RNS announcement’s wording it had been “adjourned” until the 25th August. So I had to change my travel plans at some inconvenience. Other shareholders might likewise have been affected, if they even knew about the change. It’s all very unusual and unreasonable to cancel an AGM at the last possible moment and is usually done only when circumstances absolutely dictate it. So for example, the Maven Income & Growth VCT AGM was not cancelled earlier this month even though travel difficulties due to a tube strike in London on the day were immense – and the directors all turned up. This reinforces my view that shareholders should vote against the directors of Rensburg AIM VCT as previously recommended. See this note for more comments: http://www.sharesoc.org/Rensburg%20AIM%20VCT%20Newsletter%2013.pdf
Stocktrade and Personal Crest Membership
One thing I did learn from the National Grid AGM was that Stocktrade are to definitely cease supporting Personal Crest Membership following the takeover by Alliance Trust Savings. Representatives of Stocktrade were at the meeting and I was told that such investors will be advised very soon that they will have to move into a nominee account or depart. I will definitely be departing in that case. The grounds given were the extra administrative cost of Personal Crest accounts which I believe is false. In any case, if that was so why not simply charge more for them? I have already made representations on this matter and will do so again. It is exceedingly annoying that many stockbrokers are now positively moving to withdraw support of Personal Crest membership. Such accounts are a very good way to ensure you get all your rights as a shareholder. There was an article on the benefits of such accounts in the June ShareSoc Newsletter and I will certainly be looking for another stockbroker who does support them as a priority. If anyone wishes to make representations on this matter to Alliance Trust, Patrick Mill is the Managing Director of Alliance Trust Savings (ATS) – his address is Alliance Trust Savings Limited, PO Box 164, 8 West Marketgait, Dundee, DD1 9YP. Or send an email to email@example.com . You may also care to copy Katherine Garrett-Cox who is the CEO of Alliance Trust and who also Chairs the ATS subsidiary, and also Mrs Karin Forseke who chairs Alliance Trust itself (the parent company).