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Lighthouse chief: We must communicate better with shareholders

Lighthouse chief executive Malcolm Streatfield has admitted the firm “has work to do” to repair its relationship with shareholders and improve communications after it failed in its attempt to delist from the Aim market.

In July, the firm proposed the delisting but lost a shareholder vote in which it required 75 per cent approval to push the proposal through.

Streatfield (pictured) says: “I think there is work to be done to repair shareholder relations. Clearly following the delisting proposal we have to hold our hands up and say we were not communicating as effectively with shareholders as we should have done.”

Streatfield added he, along with new non-executive chairman Richard Last and finance director Peter Smith, are eager to meet more regularly with the larger shareholders in the group.

The group’s interim accounts, published today, show the firm made a £59,000 pre-tax profit for the six months ending 30 June, with a 15 per cent drop in adviser numbers from 713 to 608.

Streatfield attributes the falling adviser numbers to the closure of its Financial Services Advice and Support brand, which saw 75 advisers leave as opposed to joining the Lighthouse Advisory Services network.

He says: “The FSAS brand was a part of the business over which we had less control and its advisers collected their own income. As a result of the wind down of the brand a number of advisers decided to leave rather than move into Lighthouse.”

The Lighthouse accounts show the firm has agreed with the FSA that its regulated subsidiaries will not make any more dividends to shareholders without prior consent from the regulator, due to historic liabilities.

It paid out a £345,000 final dividend in June from its cash reserves, which currently stand at £10.6m.

Streatfield says: “We have significant cash reserves but a large portion of that is needed for regulatory requirements, historic issues and working capital. We do not intend to issue any dividends in the short term but we do intend to pay out in the medium term.”

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