People & Business: Money back

CHARLES SCHWAB, the American-owned share shop chain, has already paid back roughly half its frustrated retail investors in the William Hill float, which was pulled in favour of a sale last Saturday.

Around 3,000 nominee accounts held at Charles Schwab were recredited on Monday morning and the remaining 8,500 investors will receive cheques going out today. Three other share shop chains are making similar arrangements.

I asked Barry Sullivan, who runs Charles Schwab's Birmingham office, whether he had ever seen another popular share offer being pulled in this way: "Not so close to the allocation being announced," he said.

Did any investors grumble at not getting shares in the betting shop chain? "There've been a few. But the main concern by clients has been to get their money back so they can reinvest in something else."

Disappointed investors will also get pounds 20 betting vouchers and a 5 per cent interest payment, which will be sent out by registrars IRG next week.

All this will cost money of course. Mr Sullivan says: "Nomura have agreed in principle to compensate us for our efforts."