Eurofinuse adopts manifesto

This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

Eurofinuse, a representative body for European shareholder organisations of which ShareSoc is a Member, has adopted a “Better Finance Manifesto”. They are launching this before the European Parliament elections in May to try and influence politicians to adopt policies to protect savers and investors over the coming years.

Although some of the manifesto policies are focussed on problems in other countries in Europe than the UK, there are many meritorious aspects. Here’s just a few of the issues they cover:

1. That there should be an end to the destruction of the real value of savings including reducing all forms of “financial repression”.

2. Enhancing minority shareholder rights and facilitating the exercise of voting rights, especially for cross-border voting.

3. Promoting equities as a simple, cheap, liquid and transparent long term investment tool, and returning capital markets to their natural participants (end investors and non-financial issuers).

4. Enforcing a balanced representation of retail investors in the EU Authorities consultative processes and groups.

5. Exempting individual investors from all financial transaction taxes (the UK has had stamp duty for many years of course, but this might also be relevant to proposed new Europe wide taxes).

6. Putting an end to double taxation of dividends issued in another member state (still a common problem).

As regards item 4 above, it is of course important that retail investors are well represented in European forums because a lot of our core financial regulations now come out of the European Commission and the ability of the UK to opt out is becoming limited. For example, only recently did the European Court of Justice (ECJ) reject a challenge by the UK to the ability of ESMA to introduce short-selling regulations – for example to ban short-selling in emergencies. HM Treasury declared the judgement was “disappointing”. For such reasons ShareSoc actively supports Eurofinuse and one of our directors regularly attends their meetings.

Roger Lawson

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