You know when you start out to do something and you end up getting so annoyed, that you lose all sense of proportion and you do something stupid just out of principle, whatever the cost?

For me it was when I needed to dispute something on my Telstra bill. You would almost have to book an afternoon off, while you listened to elevator hold music for four hours.

Clients would be trying to call me with orders but oh no, I was too busy talking to Bruce in Mumbai. Who wants to earn a couple of grand in commission, when $20 of fees per month is on the line?

You get the picture. It’s my $20 a month, not Telstra’s.

Well, that is exactly what happened to Greg O’Reilly.

He had some shares to transfer off market and having lodged all the required paperwork, he waited for Postman Pat and his newly minted holdings.

Nothing happened, so he phoned up the registrar to enquire how long it takes, only to be told forever, if he didn’t pay a $62 fee per transfer!

Well this got Mr O’Reilly’s back up. It’s his $62, not Computershare’s.

“All transfer fees should be paid by the ASX listed company and not him,” he informed them.

And this was then the start of his slippery ‘out of principle’ journey into that big black hole of lawyers, expensive bills and two years of his life.

He ended up facing potential fees of $150,000 if he lost his case. Now, that’s a lot of Mars Bars.

Australian rules are different for a Ltd company compared with a Pty company. One of the main ones is that, a Ltd company must register any transfers of stock by law, whereas a Pty can come up with all sorts of fees and excuses to hold up a transfer.

The company in question was Ramelius Resources and the registrar was Computershare.

Originally, a spotty faced junior Zuckerberg wannabe, building his Neo Bank App at his Latte sipping Pebble & Crayon incubator desk in Sydney, would need to set up a Ltd company, just to raise money on an equity crowdfunding platform.

He would have to comply with almost the same rules and regulations as an ASX-listed company and this included that, by law, all transfers must occur, for no cost.

It was set up like this to protect small investors interests (later changed to Pty being accepted).

Luckily for Mr O’Reilly (and all of us), the preceding judge must have watched The Castle a few times, as he ruled in favour of Mr O’Reilly and ‘The Vibe’ of the case, including all his costs.

Maybe the other side thought that Mr O’Reilly, was the same O’Reilly that caused Basil Fawlty all of his building problems, ‘so let’s take him on?’ Who knows?

But what we do know is that, without the Darryl Kerrigan’s and Greg O’Reilly’s of the World, who are prepared to take the big boys on, on principle, an Australian man’s home (or portfolio) would not still be his Castle.

So, to them I raise a glass of my finest single malt, as I now start work on splitting up a holding of 10,000 shares into parcels of a 1,000, so I can take advantage of an upcoming share purchase plan and save myself $620 in fees.

A few more of these and I would have recouped all of that lost commission.

Bottoms up!


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