Lighthouse chairman: Shareholder vote ‘makes my life harder’
De-listing rejection will not change investor sentiment, but day-to-day operations will not be affected, David Hickey argues.
A shareholder vote to reject plans to de-list IFA firm Lighthouse Group’s shares from the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange is not the best thing for the company, the company’s chairman David Hickey has maintained.
Speaking to FTAdviser following a surprise rejection by shareholders of the proposed de-listing, Mr Hickey says the board’s arguments in favour of de-listing the company remain valid, but that the operations of the company would not be affected day to day.
Mr Hickey claimed investors are increasingly reluctant to pour money into advisory firms as the Retail Distribution Review approaches, meaning it will be difficult to raise capital in the future.
In the wake of the de-listing proposals being announced the firm faced a barrage of criticism, with many shareholders claiming that the shock move would hit investors hard, especially given a tacit refusal by the company management to set a price for the de-listing.
However, despite a majority shareholder vote against de-listing Mr Hickey said: “I haven’t heard any arguments that made any sense to me at all.
“Investor sentiment isn’t going to change because of a shareholder vote, but it doesn’t affect the operation of the company on a day to day basis.
“We will remain on Aim and the arguments haven’t gone away. It just makes my life harder.
“It is going to be a lot tougher and cost a lot more because there is a cost to Aim of about £100,000 per annum. [But] the shareholders have spoken.”
Mr Hickey added that the company still has “robust” trading strength.
“I think the crucial thing is we give the shareholders the decision and we will abide by their decision.”
“All that has happened is that, had the vote gone through the Aim share price would have been switched off and now it won’t be. That’s the only difference.”
“There is no hidden agenda. We simply felt it would be in the interest of the company to have the business removed from Aim.”
The company reported a slight fall in revenue for 2011 after the departure of about 100 advisers.