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New law to stop share market predators starts today

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Media Release of 10/12/2010 NO.015


A new law to stop share market predators from accessing shareholder information comes into effect today, said the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury.

"From today, companies will be able to refuse access to their share registers to stop share market predators targeting vulnerable shareholders," said Mr Bradbury.

"Under the previous arrangements, share market predators could easily access a company's share register, which contains the contact details of all of its shareholders, and use that information to write to vulnerable shareholders offering to purchase their shares for less than the market value.

"Thousands of shareholders have been ripped off by scams involving these 'low-ball' offers. It is estimated that these share market predators have made millions of dollars and created great uncertainty for listed companies.

"These operators have been notorious for preying upon some of the most vulnerable shareholders, particularly seniors. Many of these people have come into share ownership for the first time through company demutualisation or other similar offers, and have little understanding about the operation of the share market.

"Amendments to the Corporations Act that come into force today allow companies to refuse to make a copy of their share registers available where it is being sought for any one of a range of improper purposes. Where a person wants to access a share register, they must now make an application to the company and state the purpose for accessing the register.

"If the application is for an improper purpose - which can include making an unsolicited offer to purchase shares in a listed company, soliciting donations or gathering information about the personal wealth of individual shareholders - the company can refuse to provide access.

"The new laws will also prevent someone who has obtained a share register prior to today from using the shareholder data for an improper purpose.

"Share market predators should also be warned that the penalties for using share registers for an improper purpose as set out in the law have increased five-fold.

"The Gillard Government doesn't want to see vulnerable shareholders targeted by unscrupulous share market predators who seek to use the law to advance their own wealth at the expense of others. In closing this loophole, the Gillard Government wants to put these share market predators out of business."

13 December 2010

Page 1 of 2 Press Release - New Law to Stop Share Market Predators Starts Today [10/12/2010]


Page 2 of 2 Press Release - New Law to Stop Share Market Predators Starts Today [10/12/2010]