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.

GB Group, Social Media, Rightmove and Alliance Trust

Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of GB Group (GBG) in Chester. An absolutely horrendous road journey both there and back mainly due to road works as far as I can tell. But my satnav took me on the M25, M11, A14, M6, M54 and numerous minor roads on the way there from south-east London, and the M6, A50, M1, A14, M11, M25 and other minor roads on the way back. A typical example of how the UK road network ...

Premier Foods, stock lending, custodians, shareholder rights and nominee accounts

The background to my comments is below: KATE BURGESS in the FT on 15 July 2018 reported that accusations of empty voting — where investors borrow voting shares for short periods to swing the outcome at meetings —reverberated around the market ahead of Premier Food’s shareholder meeting next week. They were sparked when Oasis Management , the Hong Kong activist hoping to unseat Premier’s chief executive Gavin Darby, said it had increased its stake in the owner of Angel Delight from 9 to ...

Royal Mail Remuneration

I always thought that being a Chief Executive and being paid millions was a 24/7 job. I am amazed the Royal Mail could not recruit somebody from the millions of people who live in the UK. I am very angry that the details of Mr Back's £5.8million payout were buried in note 26 on page 144 of the company's annual report and not explained in the first paragraph of the Remuneration Committee Chair's statement. Hiding the pay of the new Chief ...

UK Corporate Governance Code and new Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018

On July 16th, 2018 the FRC published its latest revision of the UK Corporate Governance Code, which is in my view shorter, simpler and better. The code can be read here: https://www.frc.org.uk/getattachment/88bd8c45-50ea-4841-95b0-d2f4f48069a2/2018-UK-Corporate-Governance-Code-FINAL.PDF A summary of the main changes is here https://www.frc.org.uk/getattachment/524d4f4b-62df-4c76-926a-66e223ca0893/Key-highlights-of-the-Code.pdf The FRC have also published a report on their consultation about the Code which explains the changes and the arguments for and against specific changes https://www.frc.org.uk/getattachment/90797f4b-37a1-463e-937f-5cfb14dbdcc4/2018-UK-Corporate-Governance-Code-Feedback-Statement-July-2018.pdf The changes to the Code complement the changes announced by Government in June 2018 to the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) ...

Watch out FRC – there’s a new Guv’nor in town

One of our members - Tony Johnson - who is a Chartered Secretary and longstanding member of ICSA, has brought to my attention ICSA’s planned rebranding to become “The Chartered Governance Institute”. See here for more details - https://www.icsa.org.uk/. ICSA or, should I say, CGI, appear to be positioning themselves as the “go-to” organisation for good corporate governance. Here’s what their President, David Vernon, had to say recently in his letter to members: “Over the last two years, your Council has been implementing ...

Hybrid AGMs and British Land

The British Land Plc (BLND) Annual General Meeting is coming up on the 17th July and I took the opportunity to review the agenda items as some are particularly interesting this year. One resolution refers to a change in the Articles which have been substantially revised. They include: A new resolution to permit “hybrid” General Meetings where some members can participate electronically instead of attending in person. But “all electronic” meetings are still not permitted. This is surely a good initiative ...

BEIS Consultation on Insolvency and Corporate Governance

We have submitted jointly with the UK Shareholders Association our response to the consultation on Insolvency and Corporate Governance. The response was written by  Cliff Weight - Director, UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc) and Peter Parry - Policy Director, UK Shareholders' Association. Click here to read it.

Should Trust Managers Attempt to Unseat the Board in a Dispute over Fees?

Investment trust directors should be independent of the manager. But sometimes the latter appear to think otherwise. Such is the case at Invesco Perpetual Enhanced Income Ltd (IPE), an investment company that invests in high yield bonds and other assets. It is managed by Invesco Perpetual. The latter have resigned as fund manager after a dispute over fees it is alleged. They have now also requisitioned a general meeting of the company to remove the trust’s Chairman, Donald Adamson, and director ...

Aviva Preference Shares: Write to your MP!

Please write to your MP requesting that a Parliamentary Select Committee investigate Aviva’s action. The Financial Times published a joint letter from Peter Parry of UKSA and Cliff Weight of ShareSoc, highlighting our concerns. The suggested wording of a letter/email to your MP is as follows "Dear xxxx, A Parliamentary Select Committee should investigate Aviva’s actions which have sullied the reputation of the London Stock Exchange and may cause financial losses running into billions for many individuals. The issues are highlighted in a joint ...

RBS, Shareholder Committees, LTIPs and Weir

It is good news that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have accepted a requisition for a resolution on a Shareholder Committee at their forthcoming AGM. ShareSoc and UKSA, who jointly promoted this under the leadership of Cliff Weight have issued a press release confirming the resolution has finally been accepted after some legal evasions to try and avoid it. Shareholder Committees are a way to improve corporate governance at companies and ensure that the views of shareholders (and potentially other stakeholders) ...
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