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.

FT Article on Small Investor Voting

On 25th August in the FTMoney supplement, FT writer Aime Williams explained how small investors could influence companies. But unfortunately some points may have misled readers. I have sent Aime the following communication: I read your article entitled “Small investors stand up and be counted” in this weekend’s FT with interest. It is good that the article shows how private investors can have an impact on companies, and it will no doubt encourage people to attend AGMs. But the comments from Richard Stone ...

Telit: Warning Signs in the Remuneration Report

Today the CEO, Cats, has left Telit. Trust between shareholders and the company is fundamental. Cats lied to the company and the company failed to disclose relevant information to its shareholders. Cats was paid $3.37 million in 2016 made up of $1.63m salary and bonus of $1.74m. ShareSoc remuneration guidelines suggest £300k to £500k as a guideline for a company of this size c £250 million turnover. Cats owned 16 million shares and also has share options. So, such a large pay package ...

The Internet of Things – Telit and Tern

The Internet of Things – Telit and Tern Please note that views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily  represent those of ShareSoc. Most investors in AIM will have noted the unfolding news at Telit Communications (TCM) last week. It has culminated today with an announcement from the company that CEO Oozi Cats (a.k.a. Uzi Katz) has resigned after an independent review did indeed find that he was the subject of a US indictment 25 years ago ...

Why Institutions Cannot Control Pay

An interesting recent article in the Financial Times FTfm supplement helped to explain why pay is so out of control in public companies. In an interview with Rakhi Kumar of State Street Global Advisors, she made it plain what the problem is. State Street may not be a household name in the UK, but they are one of the world’s largest fund managers. Fourth in size behind only Blackrock, Vanguard and UBS according to Wikipedia. Last year State Street had more than ...

AIM Rules Review

The London Stock Exchange have published a document entitled “AIM Rules Review”. ShareSoc, including me personally, have criticised the LSE in the past for poor regulation of the AIM market. Many investors view it as a casino because of the numerous problems of fraud, poor disclosures, many delistings or simple bankruptcies in AIM companies. See the ShareSoc campaign page here for more information: https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/campaign-improve-aim-market/  As you can see we made a number of recommendations on how to improve the AIM market, and ...

Enormous Management Fees at British Smaller Companies VCT

British Smaller Companies VCT (BSV) has been one of the more successful Venture Capital Trusts in terms of fund performance – it is managed by YFM. The NAV Total Return has been 106.9 over the last ten years according to the AIC (i.e. investors have doubled their money), beating the sector performance for generalist VCTs of only 64. With high, tax-free dividends being paid, investors have probably been happy. But back in 2009 the managers performance incentive fee was changed to be ...

Fusionex – Another AIM Company Disappears into the Night

In an announcement late Friday afternoon, after market close and just before the long weekend, AIM listed Fusionex announced that it will seek to delist from the AIM market. It’s not clear why this is good for private investors, the company is profitable and has no need to raise funds. The RNS says that a meeting will take place in Malaysia on 15 June to vote on the matter, and that all of the Directors representing 41.93% of shares are in ...

RBS Potential Settlement: Where’s the Justice?

It seems that the major players in the RBS Action Group have accepted the latest RBS offer. See http://files.constantcontact.com/2fe662f5101/de78446f-b327-4d5e-9eee-5fcd584c7e8c.pdf This has, in effect, enabled RBS to bully the small individual shareholders into also accepting the settlement. I say “bully” because RBS are threatening anyone who pursues the case to risk having costs awarded against them. So now the case will be settled. No-one will be found guilty. RBS will pay out £800 million (of shareholders’ money) to a group of its shareholders without ...

A tale of three AGMs

by Cliff Weight Last week I went to 3 AGMs. Aviva on Wednesday, 10 May in London and then Lloyds in the morning of the 11th and RBS in the afternoon, both in Edinburgh. Aviva was very well attended with about 600 people in the Queen Elizabeth Centre. There were plenty of displays of the Aviva products, lots of staff to explain them and deal with any customer issues or complaints. There were also stands explaining the business (noticeable by its absence was ...

BP PLC Remuneration Policy – ShareSoc’s comments prior to the AGM

In preparation to BP’s AGM tomorrow (17th May 2017), ShareSoc's Remuneration spokesman has prepared this post on the company’s remuneration policy and many other issues. Overall, the changes proposed by the Company,should be considered positive. The discontinuation of the matching share awards and simplification is particularly welcomed, as is the downward discretion applied by the remuneration committee during the year to reduce pay. However, even after the reduction Dudley’s aggregate incentive forward-looking opportunity could still be deemed to be excessive at 725% of ...