HC Deb 09 May 1944 vol 399 cc1695-6
25. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade, who are the largest shareholders in the Investors Specialised Fixed Trust, Limited, Investors General Fixed Trust, Investors Gas and Electric Trust and the Investors Gold Share Trust; what companies in America and Germany are or were involved in the trusts; was Mr. Liechtenstein connected with the trusts; if so, what is his nationality; is he satisfied that these trusts act in the best interests of our country; and, if not, what action it is intended to take.

Mr. Dalton

Investors Specialised Fixed Trust Limited changed its name in 1936 to Fifteen Moorgate Unit Trusts Limited and again in 1942 to Moorgate Unit Trust Managers Limited. I assume that this is the company my hon. Friend has in mind. According to the last annual return, 58 per cent. of the shares are held by Dawnay, Day, and Company Limited, 36 per cent. by National Group of Fixed Trusts Limited and 5 per cent. by Gresham Street Nominees Limited.

The other trusts mentioned are Unit Trust Schemes managed by the Moorgate Unit Trust Managers Limited and, therefore, they have no shareholders. I have no information which suggests that any American or German companies are, or have been, involved in Moorgate Unit Trust Managers Limited, nor am I aware that any person or company in Liechtenstein, or any person of that name, is connected with the trusts. I would remind my hon. Friend that statutory requirements with regard to Unit Trusts imposed by the Prevention of Fraud (Investment) Act, 1939, will operate as from the middle of July next.

Mr. Smith

Is it not a fact that these companies exert a powerful influence in large industrial concerns in this country and that they have a large amount of capital invested in those concerns? If so, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the best interests of the nation are being served by combinations and trusts of this kind?

Mr. Dalton

I think the unit trust is a very indirect method of exercising industrial influence—exceedingly indirect and not very potent.