11 July, 2008
Warning to Shareholders
Over the last year many companies have become aware that their shareholders have received unsolicited phone calls or correspondence concerning investment matters which imply a connection to the company concerned.
These are typically from overseas based ‘brokers’ who target UK shareholders offering to sell them what often turn out to be worthless or high risk shares in US or UK investments.
They can be very persistent and extremely persuasive and a 2006 survey by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has reported that the average amount lost by investors is around £20,000. It is not just the novice investor that has been duped in this way; many of the victims had been successfully investing for several years. Shareholders are advised to be very wary of any unsolicited advice, offers to buy shares at a discount or offers of free reports into the company.
If you receive any unsolicited investment advice:
1) Make sure you get the correct name of the person and organisation and make a record of any other information they give you, e.g. telephone number, address etc
2) Check that they are properly authorised by the FSA before getting involved. You can check at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
3) The FSA also maintains on its website a list of unauthorised overseas firms who are targeting, or have targeted, UK investors and any approach from such organisations should be reported to the FSA so that this list can be kept up to date and any other appropriate action can be considered. If you deal with an unauthorised firm, you would not be eligible to receive payment under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The FSA can be contacted by telephone on 0845 606 1234.
4) Inform our Registrars on 0871 384 2085. They are not able to investigate such incidents themselves but will record the details and pass them on to Ashtead Group plc and liaise with the FSA.
Details of any sharedealing facilities that the company endorses will be included in company mailings.
More detailed information on this or similar activity can be found on the FSA website http://www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk