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City of London Investment Group (CLIG) – a confusing AGM today

City of London Investment Group (CLIG)  – a confusing AGM today

I’ll try to tell you briefly “the way it was” to paraphrase the CEOs introduction to his section of the Annual Report. A full report is available here.

Barry Olliff is the CEO and this company has succession problems just like Carpetright which was covered in my last blog post. Likewise, they are back at square one after losing a new CEO appointed at the end of 2012, but who departed with a £1.1m payoff in April.

As a result of what might be seen as an excessive compensation in that regard, and other aspects of the remuneration at this company which have attracted criticism in the past, PIRC recommended voting against the Remuneration Report. When it came to the vote on that resolution, oddly enough the Chairman “assumed” that it had been voted down as there were more proxy votes “against” than “for”. Surely this is not correct procedure as I said at the meeting? One should not assume the proxy votes are the declared votes, and one should call a poll, or perhaps withdraw the resolution.

Even odder, it later transpired that the only reasons the vote on that resolution was lost is because Mr Olliff did not use his vote, but abstained. Is this the first time a CEO has effectively failed to vote in support of his own pay and the other remuneration decisions made by the board?

But it does look like the funds under management may soon improve and the dividend will be maintained. Mr Olliff is off-loading most of his Chief Investment Officer responsibilities to another member of staff, and they already have a non-executive Chairman (unlike Carpetright), but there is still a longer term succession issue remaining. However it was certainly an interesting meeting if you care to read the full report.

Roger Lawson

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