His sales were said to be for “financial planning” or, as he later elaborated on PI World, “I chose to take the advice about the capital gains tax (CGT) implications of a change of tax policy that’s likely to happen.” What he had in mind was that if CGT were aligned with marginal income tax rates, his gains would be taxed at 45 per cent instead of 20 per cent. Those early sales could have saved him over £2m. Had he sold in November though, when four fellow directors offloaded their holdings, his selling price would have been over a quarter more. All these sales sent more red flags fluttering.
The group made the point that the three executive directors who had cleared out their shareholdings “retained shares which can be vested under the Company’s Long-term Incentive Plan (LTIP) scheme”. This could have been explained better. IG Design’s share awards are in the form of nil-cost options – shares in other words, that allow participants to choose when to have them transferred into their names. These used to be awarded every year, and although Mr Fineman appears to have sold up, in fact he can currently claim another 641,808 shares whenever he wishes. He’s also likely to obtain more from ongoing share awards whose performance conditions are yet to be tested.