SINGAPORE (Dec 3): In 2015, the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) helped commodities trader Noble Group organise two shareholder meetings: one was a pre-annual general meeting session; the other was for the purposes of “shareholder communication”, according to SIAS. “Noble didn’t have problems at that time,” says SIAS founder, president and CEO David Gerald. Noble paid for the event, including venue, marketing and administration costs.
Early this year, as a controversial restructuring was being organised, Gerald met with Noble’s chairman Paul Brough. In a Feb 4 statement, Gerald noted that SIAS “has been assured” that Brough and Noble’s management were “fully committed” to the restructuring that “puts Noble on a firmer financial footing and provides a platform for restoring the Group’s fortunes in the longer term”. The statement also noted that Brough assured SIAS of Noble’s commitment to an open and ongoing dialogue with shareholders, and that it would hold a town hall meeting once the restructuring is underway, to be hosted by SIAS.
By August, with Noble having lost 98% of its market value in three years, some of its minority shareholders were publicly saying they felt “cheated”. Noble is now being jointly investigated by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department.