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.

Guaranteed Rights for All Shareholders – Campaign Launch Meeting

On the 14th October 2014 ShareSoc is launching a campaign to give full rights to ALL shareholders. At present most private investors purchase shares in nominee accounts. With a very few exceptions this means that they have no automatic rights to vote, to attend General Meetings of companies or even receive information on the affairs of the company. Investors in public companies have been disenfranchised and their rights undermined. The meeting on the 14th October 2014 will explain how and why this situation ...

Berkeley Group and British Country Inns

I attended the Annual General Meeting of housebuilders Berkeley Group today. Lots of questions from shareholders this year (apparently there were none last year), and a request for there to be a presentation in future. That I supported as it is also ShareSoc's policy.  A full report is also available to full members. Some of the comments from Chairman Tony Pidgeley were most interesting. It included his solution to how to solve the housing crisis in London and the South East, but ...

New boards elected at Oxford Technology VCTs

Today all four of the Oxford Technology VCTs held their Annual General Meetings. The meetings were well attended as Oxford Technology VCT (OXT) and Oxford Technology 3 VCT (OTT) previously had their VCT status withdrawn by HMRC, although this has now been temporarily "set aside" while an appeal is processed. ShareSoc formed a "Shareholder Action Group" with a committee of interested shareholders to make representations on this matter and protect their interests. We also pushed for changes to the corporate governance of these ...

Outrage in the Cayman Islands

There is reportedly outrage in the Cayman Islands after they were included in a list of "high risk jurisdictions" by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Islands Government has expressed "great consternation" at its inclusion in the list, which only became public after a Freedom of Information Act request for the list. But anyone familiar with publicly listed companies that were or are registered in the Cayman Islands might not be that surprised. The Cayman Islands was a favourite location for companies ...

AIM and other regulatory changes

Effective from the 11th August, there are additional requirements under AIM Rule 26. Rule 26 covers what information is required to be published on a company's web site - for example the listing prospectus and last Annual Report. In future a company must disclose what corporate governance code the company is using, or not as the case may be. Currently AIM companies often refer to the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) Corporate Governance Code for Small and Mid-Size Quoted Companies, some use ...

Active managers and Monks Investment Trust

The FT’s fund management supplement recently reported that “90% of UK active funds beat the market”. This headline might surprise you because historically it is known that active fund...

Controlling bankers – public consultation in motion

Controlling bankers is a key theme of a public consultation issued jointly by the Bank of England Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The proposals...

Long standing directors and investment trusts

The UK Corporate Governance Code has a clear rule about non-executive directors who have served for more than nine years (Code B.1.1.) which states "The board should state its reasons if it determines that a director is independent notwithstanding the existence of relationships or circumstances which may appear relevant to its determination, including if the director: has served on the board for more than nine years from the date of their first election". This rule was not introduced to ensure that ...

West Bromwich Building Society in profit

The West Bromwich Building Society recently issued their accounts for their financial year ending in March 2014. They actually managed to make a small profit after years of losses. Does that mean that the PIBS holders will start to receive their dividends again? In essence no. According to Peter Morgan who led a campaign on the issue, it might yet be another 5 years before these bondholders receive any interest whatsoever. To remind readers about this problem, in 2009, the Society ran ...

Giving Personal Shareowners a Voice

"Giving Personal Shareowners a Voice" was the title of a meeting yesterday (3/7/2014) organised by Gavin Oldham of The Share Centre. It was organised to discuss a number of concerns about shareholder engagement with companies and the rights of individual shareholders. It was attended by a number of "stakeholders" interested in this area including representatives from the BIS, FRC, WMA, Wider Share Ownership Council, ShareAction, UKSA, ICSA, a number of journalists and myself representing ShareSoc. The first topic covered was the failure ...