The Business Legal Services Blog

Mary Poppins and the case of the lost share certificate

Spoilers ahead for the new film Mary Poppins Returns.

In Mary Poppins Returns, Michael Banks has inherited 17 Cherry Tree Lane. After the death of his wife, he runs into some financial difficulty and is forced to take out a loan from Fidelity Fiduciary Bank against the house. Unfortunately, he is unable to pay his debts and so the bank calls in the loan and attempts to repossess the house. However, if Michael, his sister and his children can simply find a share certificate left by their father in Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, they will be able to pay off the loan.

Sadly, the share certificate has gone missing. Firstly, and very sensibly, the Banks family go to the bank itself to check the register of members. All companies are required to keep a register of their shareholders which would state the names and addresses of members and their shareholdings. A Company must also keep a list of its officers, directors, as well as recording any transfers and allotment of shares. It should also keep a register of any encumbrances such as charges or mortgages made against the company’s assets. Sadly for the Banks family, the President of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, William Wilkins, has torn out the page with the Banks’ family shares, and is attempting to repossess the property by any means fair or foul.

The company is likely to have committed an offence, as well as any of the officers of the company due to their failure to keep an up to date record. They can each be fined £1,000 upon conviction, as well as a daily default fine of £100 per day.

The Banks search throughout the house to try and find the share certificate. However, it appears lost forever and there seems to be nothing that can be done. This is surprisingly common.

In modern company law, the problem is easily resolved. Shareholders in Michael Banks’ position can sign an indemnity and ask the company to issue to them a new share certificate. Michael would need to promise to return the original if he found it, and will compensate the bank for any losses incurred by them in relying on the indemnity.

Of course, a movie about the intricacies of company law would probably not be as successful as a movie about a singing nanny!

If you have any questions about company administration, including dealing with share certificates, then please contact our corporate team on rob.moore@tayloremmet.co.uk or 0114 218 4051.

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