Former investors in nationalised lender Bradford & Bingley (B&B) should receive no compensation for their shares, according to the independent valuer of the stricken business.
The decision impacts some 935,000 shareholders in B&B, which saw its loan book nationalised and its savings arm sold off to Spanish banking giant Santander in September 2008 during the financial crisis.
The move will be a bitter disappointment to investors but PricewaterhouseCoopers valuer Peter Clokey said he made his decision after weighing up “representations from a wide range of groups and individuals”.
Bradford & Bingley's shares closed at 20p each in the final day of trading before the nationalisation and break-up of the group.
The company — which listed on the London Stock Exchange in December 2000 — was one of Britain's best known building societies, formed from the 1964 merger between the Bradford Equitable Building Society and the Bingley Building Society.
The B&B Shareholders Action Group — which had previously said that any valuation below 55p a share would be “tantamount to theft” — plans to appeal against the PwC decision.
Spokesman Richard Jennings said: “Peter Clokey has today delivered a damning verdict on the rights of UK shareholders. This is a very sad day, not just for B&B shareholders but UK shareholders in general.”
Mr Clokey decided B&B — which had seen £173m flood out of the firm in the two days before nationalisation — would have fallen into administration, leaving nothing for shareholders.
In his assessment, Mr Clokey concluded: “In the absence of the transfer order, Bradford & Bingley would... have been unable to continue as a going concern and would have applied to court for an administration order before the transfer time.”