Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance News

This section on Corporate Governance provides investors with the latest topical news plus some informal comments and insights from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors.

Investment Trust fees – should they be based on market cap or NAV?

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Should Investment Trusts (including VCTs)  base their fees on market cap and not Net Asset Value? In the case of of Chrysalis Investments (CHRY), the 58% discount to NAV means the 0.77% fees as a % of NAV are in excess of 1.5% of market cap, which in my opinion is egregious:   A story in Investment Week "Chrysalis managers stand by unlisted holdings" https://www.investmentweek.co.uk/4055056/ also highlighted the ...

Gore Street Energy Fund Dividend Waiver and Directors’ Jobs

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. At the forthcoming Annual General Meeting of Gore Street Energy Storage Fund (GSF) in addition to the usual resolutions shareholders are asked to approve a whitewash of the illegal past payments of dividends (resolution 15). This regularly happens when a company fails to file a statement of distributable reserves at Companies House showing it has sufficient reserves to cover the dividend. It seems to happen ...

Paul Myners Obituary and BHP Unification Meetings

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Lord Myners has died at the age of 73. He had a big hand in the rescue of the banks in the financial crisis of 2008 as a Treasury Minister in the Labour Government after becoming the socialists’ favourite capitalist. He was also responsible for the Myners Report into institutional investment which had some influence on corporate governance and institutional stewardship in the UK. I met ...

A Bumper Edition of Investors Chronicle

The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Over the Christmas period we were treated to a bumper edition of the Investors’ Chronicle. And I have to say that this magazine has improved of late under the editorship of Rosie Carr. Whether she has a bigger budget or is just picking better writers I do not know but she certainly deserved the job after working for the magazine for many years. I’ll pick out ...

Baronsmead VCT – More Corporate Governance Issues

The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. I mentioned in a previous blog post that covered Northern Venture Trust that “VCTs are a perpetual problem in relation to excessive management fees, poor corporate governance, and general behaviour prejudicial to the interests of shareholders”. Now we have an AGM for Baronsmead VCT (BVT) in prospect on the 16th February. As a holder I will be expressing the following concerns to the Chairman: In the ...

Northern Venture Trust and Other VCTs

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. Northern Venture Trust (NVT) recently published their Annual Report. It shows that the manager (now Mercia) collected a performance fee of £2.5 million which on my calculation raised the overall fees and expenses as a percentage of closing net asset value to 4.5%. This is way too high in my opinion even allowing for the work involved in managing a portfolio of small, unlisted investments. When ...

Core VCT – another messy VCT

It is some time since ShareSoc mentioned the Core VCTs in 2015, https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/company-news/governance-in-investment-trusts-alliance-trust-baronsmead-vct-3-and-the-core-vcts/ but due to the hard work behind the scenes by Nigel Sommerville, Tim Grattan, Robin Goodfellow and others, it looks like progress is about to happen. Nigel has written up the latest developments with ShareProphets click here to read (it is free - outside their paywall) https://www.shareprophets.com/views/59458/core-vcts-a-vote-is-called-if-you-or-someone-you-know-held-these-then-please-read The Times wrote about Core on 7 Dec https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/investor-sues-over-cheap-asset-sales-n0wkxqk3f (behind a paywall). Cliff Weight, ShareSoc, Director DISCLOSURE: I have never owned shares in Core. I have ...

FCA AGM questions – Response to ShareSoc question on financial education

Asking a question at an AGM is often a good way to get access to the Board and force them to engage on a key issue.  This approach worked well with the FCA, where I submitted three questions and one of which, on financial education, was answered in the live part of the meeting. Page 18 of the written record of the meeting records that I asked FCA Chair Charles Randell: Will the FCA support greater financial education in schools and in the wider world, ...

ISS announce pay issues survey results

This article represents the view of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc The issue of skin  in the game and executive pay and how this impacts future share price (and dividends) performance is a crucial one. My favourite quote is from Charlie Munger "you show me the incentives and I will show you the behaviours". So when leading proxy advisor firm ISS announce their plans for next year, it is well worth looking at them. Please note these are their US ...

Daily Mail, 26 August 2021, Fury at £100m bonus for the Sports Direct prince

Mike Ashley does it again: stirring up controversy over a proposed bonus scheme for his future son-in-law. ShareSoc director (and former remuneration consultant) Cliff Weight is quoted in this article in the Daily Mail: Cliff Weight, of small shareholders campaign group Sharesoc, also questioned why Murray was worth his enormous pay package. He raised concerns that Ashley would be able to ram the proposal through at an annual general meeting next month even if other investors resist. 'This is clearly a case of a 60 ...