Derek Pain: Lighthouse's Aim exit plan is simply dim

No Pain, No Gain

Lighthouse, a wealth-management firm that was once a constituent of the no pain, no gain portfolio, is planning to abandon the stock market and become an unquoted vehicle. Shareholders are asked to gather at the company's City offices later this month to approve the move. I hope that it is rejected.

Any out-of-town shareholder will have to be up at the crack of dawn or book an expensive hotel room in the Olympic Games period if they want to be present for the 9am meeting. I suspect many will use their proxy votes rather than struggle to attend. It seems to be a frequent occurrence in investment life these days that when a controversial decision is proposed the resultant meeting is called for a difficult time or held in an out-of-the-way venue.

David Hickey, the chairman and 4 per cent shareholder, maintains that cancellation of the Aim quote is "in the best interests of the company and its shareholders".

Well, Lighthouse shares have taken a knock since the off-market proposal became known, at times losing almost half their value.

Clearly Mr Hickey's plan has disadvantaged shareholders. And Lighthouse has not made arrangements for any alternative investment platform. Instead of moving to one of the fringe markets – or creating a matched bargains facility for any investor who wants to buy or sell – the directors are "to explore whether it is possible to set up a matched bargains arrangement". Surely such a platform, enabling shareholders to deal, should already be in place.

The reasons advanced for deserting the stock market are familiar. They include the group's low profile, lack of trading in the shares, the price (4.88p before the announcement) and the time and cost of maintaining an Aim presence. The problems besetting the financial community are also cited.

There is no doubt that trading circumstances have changed since Lighthouse arrived at the turn of the century. The shares have not performed. Once as high as 60p, they were sold at 7p last year.

Mr Hickey said Lighthouse has not issued any shares since 2008. Then it splashed out £44m buying a rival group for £12.6m in cash and shares. Some options were also satisfied that year.

Although Lighthouse has been an appalling investment, the company is profitable and pays dividends. I realise it faces an uncertain future, but its action is a slap in the face for shareholders who have stuck with the shares.

It is interesting that the move requires 75 per cent of the votes to be cast in favour. The directors have only 7.1 per cent and former director Allan Rosengren is the biggest stakeholder with 14.7 per cent.

As readers are aware, I invest in portfolio shares. When they are sold, I – depending on my circumstances at the time – sometimes hang on to my own holding. I regret not selling Lighthouse when the portfolio unloaded, but at least I can vote against this astonishing proposal. I hope others, in this so-called shareholders' spring, do so as well.

From a former constituent to existing participates. Animalcare and Hargreaves Services both issued trading updates that made little difference to earlier profit warnings, and stockbroker Shore Capital decided the shares of the Booker cash and carry chain were too high and said "sell". My advice remains that investors who followed the portfolio into the stock should sell half their stake.

The other constituent making news is, of course, G4S, the security group that is – or was – responsible for the Olympics. It seems the group will suffer another financial hit following its Olympian misadventure. Last year, it lost some £50m on its abandoned bid for ISS. There have been stockbroker suggestions that the shares were heading for 350p. I suspect such comments have been quietly withdrawn and any new targets will be much less inspiring.

The portfolio paid 264p for its shares; they fell to around 220p in the ISS débâcle. Just how well G4S survives the obvious damage from this latest trauma remains to be seen. There seems little point in selling now but I may have to consider it.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Audit Manager Central Functions

    To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

    Credit Risk Audit Manager

    Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week