Masonic bonus finally paid after Euroclear fiasco
Whenever Peter Cloke visits his wife Millie at their home in Woodbridge, Suffolk, he arrives with treats like chocolates or sweet-smelling shower gel.
To pay them off, the 79-year-old former accountant invested £5,000 in March in a new bond from the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Company (RMBI).
Founded in 1850, the RMBI operates residences and sheltered accommodation for more than 1,000 Freemasons and others.
The issue was a success and raised £20 million. The bonds, due in 2029, offer 6.25 percent interest, paid twice a year, with the first payment due on September 7.
Peter had only invested in stocks and mutual funds before, but the charitable nature of the bond appealed to him. His Masonic support reassured him and he liked the fixed semiannual payments, which he decided to spend on those delights for his wife.
Weak link: each party had done its bit except Euroclear
Having purchased the bonds through the Hargreaves Lansdown wealth platform, Peter duly reviewed his account on September 7 to make the first payment. He had not arrived and, as the days passed, he became worried. Peter was not alone. Hundreds of investors were in the same boat, many of whom had invested £15,000 or more in the bond issue.
Mark Lloyd, managing director of the RMBI, was astonished when distressed bondholders contacted the charity. He had ensured that the money was sent in time to be remitted to the bondholders.
But the process is complex: The funds pass through intermediaries before reaching Euroclear, the Brussels-based clearing system ultimately responsible for sending the cash to brokers and investors.
The investigation by The Mail on Sunday revealed that every party had done its bit except Euroclear. He only moved the cash when Lloyd and his colleagues asked him to. However, by the end of last week, bondholders had received their payment. Now Peter can stock up on treats for his wife.