D.I.V.O.R.C.E. ASX style not Dolly style
The Secret Broker
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After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.
Lately, there have been some situations popping up on the ASX, that have given me a double take neck turn, when their headings interrupt my day and ping up on my trusty (but crusty) Blackberry.
One that really stuck out was First Growth Fund’s (ASX:FGF) shareholders voting through a resolution to be removed from the ‘Official List’, meaning that those shareholders will no longer be able to trade their shares or follow their company on the ASX.
Mind you, FGF had been suspended for some time and the ASX was insisting that it needed to re-apply and get shareholder approval to have the suspension lifted and this would almost require a full blown prospectus.
The directors gave a two finger salute to this ruling and persuaded shareholders that a divorce was the only solution, so they could move forward with their lives and go for a fresh start on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE).
I have heard of the Toronto Stock Exchange and even the Vancouver Stock Exchange but never the Canadian Stock Exchange, which for something that sounded that major, I couldn’t figure out why.
I was thinking that if a major exchange like the ASX is giving you a hard time, surely the CSE’s reputation would be on the line, making a listing proposal nigh on impossible.
But fear not, the grand sounding name that conjures up the ‘Grand Daddy’ of Canadian exchanges is in fact called the Canadian Securities Exchange and is an alternative exchange for, and I quote, “The Exchange for Entrepreneurs”. The bourse’s listing fee is a very modest $C10,000 ($11,036) when attached to a light touch prospectus.
To give you a more general picture, such grand companies that are listed include Peekaboo Beans Inc. (BEAN) and HeyBryan (HEY), and the exchange turns over an even more modest $C24m a day, with not too many trading over 10c and not too many in the sin bin!
It takes a very big effort to get listed in Australia and very little effort to be de listed. On the 29th August this year, 19 companies were automatically removed from the Official List, for simply not paying their listing fees.
If you want to see the work required to get on to the Official List, have a read of this paper where PWC sum up the hurdles here in a 35 page document.
The other headline that caused me to do a double take was isignthis (ASX:ISX) deciding to sue the ASX for not lifting its suspension.
Even though the company could have opted for the FGF solution and fallen into the loving arms of another exchange, it decided to remain married, for the sake of the
children shareholders and move into separate bedrooms, as the cold shoulder suspension treatment was proving just too frustrating for our young hot headed (and blooded) company board.
This action has brought up marital issues for both sides and highlighted the dual roles that the ASX has to play.
The ASX is listed on the ASX, which in my book means it is married to itself and therefore it can legally invite you into bed, consummate the arrangement, take your money and then turn and eat you alive, like a female Redback spider. And there is not much you can do about it.
They are the judge, the jury and the executioner rolled into one.
So, FGF has given up on its marriage (which originally began in 1991), while ISX has decided to skip any form of counselling and let the ASX explain to all its ‘Sologamy’ arrangement. Yes, there are people who marry themselves.
I am sure that ISX will use the ‘Sologamy’ effect in the court room as I don’t ever recall the ASX suspending itself and disadvantaging its own shareholders.
So this is one court case I am looking forward to and as Dolly sings in her song, this is going to be one H-E double L of a time for everyone involved.
The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at email@example.com.
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