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Saturday, 13 December 2008


HBOS's 5.4 billion shares are owned roughly 30% by 10 institutional investors, notably Legal & General, Schroders, M&G (Prudential) and Standard Life with 3% or over. Only about 300 people turned up at the general meeting. There was a major traffic accident on the M6. To account for this, the meeting's start was delayde by half an hour, though this was hardly long enough delay for the hundreds or thousands of motorists delayed for hours. If these were mainly small shareholders, even if they had all turned up, their votes on the day would still have been too small to make a difference, even when a holder of 100 shares counts as 10 million shares for the purpose of determining the simple majority of shareholders.
Overall, 56.5% of shareholders voted, most online and by proxy. The rule is that at least 75% of shareholders who vote their shares must approve the board's resolution on the takeover by Lloyds TSB and there must also be a simple majority of share owners. About 84% of the 56.5% of individual share-owners voted yes and 98.4% of all shares that voted. This means that the takeover and its consequences were voted for by 55.6% of all shares and by 47.5% of all share-holders. It is perhaps surprising to most readers, given the importance and the publicity attaching to this vote that almost half of all shares and less than half of all shareholders have not bothered to vote! If the rule had been that more than half of all shareholders and 75% of all shares had to vote yes to allow the bank to be sold, then the board's resolutions would have been lost!

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