“We de-listed from the NYSE and de-registered from the SEC in 2005 and our shares are now only listed on the London Stock Exchange, but we retain a large portion of our business and a significant number of employees in the US. These employees seem to find it quite difficult to buy and sell shares in the company and don’t appear to get particularly helpful support from US brokers. Do any other companies in a similar situation have practical suggestions on how to make this process easier for US employees?”
Our corprote brokers, Hoare Govett, have a “Low Cost Share Dealing” department that have an offering for Exec/PDMR dealings, other large e’ee dealings (over €15k) and overseas e’e dealings of any size. For overseas employees they email out the forms, and can deal on receipt of the forms + share certs in the post. They also offer to hold o’seas employees shares in nominee, so that a) they can sell based on a phone call, and b) so that dividends can be paid direct into the o/seas employees bank accounts. It has been little publicised internally and I plan to do something about that.
We have had similar problems setting up a funding and share dealing facility to enable our employees in the US to exercise options and deal in shares. NatWest brokers, who currently provide a funding and share dealing facility for our UK employees, have just set up a facility to allow them to offer the same service to our US employees. This uses a bank/broker in the US to act as intermediary. Our contact there is Stuart Allin (Tel: +44 (0)20 7842 8505)
Our corporate brokers, UBS, have a dealing facility that our US employees use, proceeds are remitted back to them in USD. I suspect Cazenove corporate dealing also have this facility and they may also be willing to act for companies for whom they do not act as corporate brokers, but I’m not sure. It is possible to use American Depository Receipts (ADRs) which the providers do not charge you to put in place. If you use a level 1 ADR you do not get tied up in US securities laws. This means that employees can hold shares in a US non certificated form and recieve dollar dividends from the ADR sponsor(another common gripe – reciept of UK Sterling div cheques drawn on a UK bank!). The main sponsor is Bank of New York. I think Deutsche Bank also do it. Your corporate treasurer may know. Purchases and Sales are made through the ADR sponsor.
For share dealing by overseas employees/shareholders, we use a company in Edinburgh called Stocktrade, who are part of Brewin Dolphin. They will settle in overseas currencies, although (understandably) there is a charge for this. From the feedback by users and in my own experience, they have performed well.
Our contact is Graham Swan, who can be contacted on 0131 240 0621.
We have a number of US based employees with executive share options and LTIP awards. We experienced problems when options were exercised or awards vested as some UK brokers were unable to act on behalf of US residents. However, W H Ireland were able to offer some solutions and may be able to offer guidance in this case. Our contact there was Jamie Holmes, based in the Leeds office, contactable on 0113 394 660 or 0845 603 1470.
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