CPW co-founder's secret loans get all-clear
FSA tightens rules on stock securities
The co-founder of Carphone Warehouse who secretly used his stake in the firm to secure loans has been cleared of law breaking by financial investigators.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said today its rules on whether David Ross was required to declare the loan arrangements had been unclear. It added that in future directors must obtain permission from them to use company stock as security.
Clearing Ross and other corporate bigwigs who have done similar loan deals in the past, an FSA statement said: "Given the circumstances, we are not intending to take enforcement action in respect of prior failures to notify the market of grants of security."
Ross quit the Carphone Warehouse board in December when it emerged he had secured personal loans against 136.4 million of his 160 million shares without informing the board. He was also forced to quit a plum job as Olympics advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson, and as chairman of National Express.
The FSA said any director securing personal loans using company stock would in future be required to the board within four days of a deal. The stock market must then be told within a further two days.
"The FSA can see no basis on which a director could legitimately avoid seeking clearance where his or her shares are to be used as collateral for a financing transaction," it said. ®
If he owns the shares then he can do what he likes with them ethically speaking.
And if someone wants to value them as collateral on a loan, they are a little silly.
Money use to be sticks, so it did literally grow on trees, but the stick was notched and split in two, tally sticks.
Did he own the shares?
If yes, then why should he not use them as collateral? If he was using someone else's shares, or claimed they were worth more than their 'current' trading value, then I can see why there would be a problem, but if a bank is prepared to allow him to put up something with such limited intrinsic value ("Remember, share prices can go down as well as up") and he owns the shares in question, what exactly is the problem?
Of course, if banks did the sensible thing and still used paper and metal money then we wouldn't get in the situation where Bank A lends to Bank B, Bank B to Bank C, Bank C to Bank D and so on around the world until one of them asks for some of the money back, and then they suddenly realise that all they have really loaned each other is vapourware "money" with no 'Real World' physical presence beyond the electrical charge on a mass of HDDs...
Bank Qnnn suddenly realises their high-risk "customers" can't repay them the sums owing on their Sub-Prime loans so "asks" Bank Rnnn for some of their funds back so they can pay their next installment to Bank Pnnn. Unfortunately Bank Rnnn is also low on funds so calls in their loan to Bank Snnn, who call in their loan to Bank Tnnn, who call in their loan to... and so on until the dozy gits suddenly realise that nobody actually has any real money at all, and the entire world economy goes down the pan because the so-called expert Money Men (with their huge bonuses and taste for the high life) are, in reality, little more than glorified snake-oil salesmen with flash cars and expense accounts instead of a tatty old horse-drawn wagon and penchant for screwing over gullible cowboys...
In memory of Douglas Adams, I suggest we recreate the World economy using the LEAF as the unit of fiscal exchange. That way, the economists dream will finally come to fruition (no pun intended) and money will, literally, grow on trees...