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Getting blood from the Shell Investors’ stone!

One of the knock-on effects from Shell’s dysfunctionality over their declaration of fictitious hydrocarbon reserves was that they were obliged by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to pay $120million to investors. All investors who bought shares between 8th April 1999 and 17th March 2004 were entitled to a share of the payout. As a (very) small investor I qualified for this – in theory anyway.

When the initial wodge of papers arrived from the “Settlement Administrators” I tried hard to understand them and eventually worked out that I would need to know the precise dates of all purchase and sales of Shell shares over this period. I don’t bother to keep such records and all of my purchases were under a staff savings scheme anyway. Not a lot of money in my case so my inclination was not to bother with the claim.

In October 2008 I received from BNP Paribas who administered the Shell share savings a scheme a very helpful and clear letter which, or so I thought, gave me all the information I needed to have in order to progress my claim. So I decided after all that I might as well go ahead with it.

On December 7th the Settlement Administrator wrote to me with a “CLAIM DEFICIENCY NOTICE” . This said that my claim was deficient because I had not provided them with the “Transaction Amount” for each transaction. This was NOT TRUE. The BNP Paribas statement which I had given them clearly showed the value of each transaction

In sharing this experience with the wider world I do so for two reasons. First an ordinary shareholder with a modest holding like me would be likely to be intimidated by the original document – I certainly was. However if we did persevere, in my case using the good information proved by BNP Paribas, it seems that Shell’s “Settlement Administrators” still aren’t satisfied.

I shan’t bother to pursue this any more – it’s not worth the hassle. But it is just yet another example of how the small man, be he an impoverished pensioner, a disgruntled motorist or a small shareholder just doesn’t count with Shell any more. Sad isn’t it?

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