David Hickey, chairman of the Lighthouse Group, has robustly defended the company's proposal to de-list from the AIM stock market, saying critics of the move are "ill informed or ignorant".
Chairman David Hickey explained that the move aims to de-couple a misleading share price of 3.5p from the real value of the business.
"Ten years ago the share price was over 75p; it is now 3.5p. During that period, turnover at Lighthouse increased from £4m to £60m. The share price clearly doesn't reflect the value of the business."
Hickey said there were several reasons for the disparity between the perceived and real value of the company, including that negative press about the future of the industry has left few wanting to invest in IFAs.
"Lighthouse is in good financial shape, but this misleadingly-low share price is leading people to think there is something wrong with the business. It is not a good thing."
He also dismissed suggestions that de-listing the company is a prelude to a takeover bid by the management whilst the company has a low valuation.
"We have publically stated that we have no such intention," he said.
Hickey added: "A second stream of concern is that if we come off the AIM stock market it will lead to a reduction in governance standards.
"But we have said we will keep all the current governance structures in place."
He explained the business would keep its risk, audit and remuneration committees as well as its non-executive director structure. It will also continue to announce results and publish an annual report.
"To be honest, the majority of the negative comment on our proposal is ill informed or ignorant speculation. We have put a lot of thought into the decision."
Hickey urged shareholders to consider the proposals carefully in preparation for the vote at the extraordinary general meeting on 31 July.
"We could have taken an alternative route without consulting shareholders but we believe that the approach we are taking is the more honourable route."
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