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.

Remuneration in Covid times

by Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director Executive Pay is attracting much attention. The issues were well written up in this Guardian article. Insititutional fund managers have been slow to address this issue which is of great public concern. Their representative trade body have produced weasel words with lots of opt out possibilities, eg Chris Cummings, the IA’s chief executive, said: “Investment managers expect executive remuneration to be linked to long term company performance and aligned with the experience of its employees, stakeholders and shareholders. ...

AGMs – Best practice needs to evolve

There needs to be a review of the guidance on company AGMs. In these difficult and uncertain times it is vitally important that companies continue to engage with investors, that they keep them up to date with events and foster their support and commitment. Never has the importance of the AGM been so high. It is now a month since the current lockdown due to Covid-19 was introduced. This has coincided with a particularly busy period in the annual reporting season with ...

Dividends – ShareSoc and UKSA send joint letter to FRC, FCA and BEIS

Many of our members are very concerned at the spate of recent dividend suspensions. Many members feel that private investors are much more concerned with the non payment of dividends than the problems at AGMs, about which we have blogged at length. Many members are somewhat surprised that ShareSoc have not pronounced on dividends, so it is timely to correct this. Not only are many private investors heavily dependent on dividends, so are many charities and pension funds. These points are very ...

Are Your Investee Companies Engaging Properly During This Crisis?

  PIWorld and Alma PR are conducting a survey of shareholder views on how companies are engaging with their shareholders during the dislocation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The results of this survey will be valuable in demonstrating to companies what their shareholders expect of them at this difficult time. The survey does not identify you or capture any data about you - only your views on this subject. It takes 2-3 minutes to complete. The more responses that are received the more influential ...

FT 20 April 2020, AGMs in these Covid times – ShareAction

ShareAction has written to FTSE100 Chairs, concerned that two out of three FTSE100 annual general meetings (AGMs) announced so far are going behind closed doors, indicating a trend of shareholders being shut out in the context of Covid-19. Companies including BAE Systems, HSBC and Next are holding AGMs with two members of the board physically present, without giving shareholders the opportunity to participate virtually. In contrast, Taylor Wimpey, RBS and others have taken steps to ensure that shareholders are heard and answered ...

An Urgent Call to Include Individual Shareholders in New Issues – Sign Now!

Treat all shareholders fairly. There is no need to ignore individual shareholders in raising funds. Sign the petition now https://allinvestorsmatter.co.uk The Times reported today 20 April 2020 our letter (see https://allinvestorsmatter.co.uk/) which was co-signed by Mark Northway, Chairman of ShareSoc, our Patron Lord Lee (John Lee) , PrimaryBid and an impressive list of industry heavyweights. We have been working closely with PrimaryBid on this initiative. The Times article is here: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/city-chiefs-demand-fair-shares-for-equity-raises-hr9fhzzb8 This is an urgent call for UK PLCs, industry bodies, regulators, investors, ...

Long Serving Directors and Kings Arms Yard VCT

I have commented in the past on my objections to long-serving directors on public company boards. That included comments on the directors of Baronsmead Venture Trust (BVT) only a few weeks ago – see my AGM report: https://www.sharesoc.org/agm-reports/baronsmead-venture-trust-bvt-agm-2020/ – particularly the Chairman Peter Lawrence. The UK Corporate Governance Code contains specific provisions that indicate that directors who serve for more than 9 years cannot be considered independent. Therefore companies should provide good explanations as to why they wish to ignore this provision. ...

Fund Raises – Why and How Retail Shareholders Should be Included.

We remain absolutely focused on making sure retail investors have fair access to fund raisings. This is important, now more than ever, as many companies plan to return to the equity markets to shore up balance sheets and reposition for the future. I would not like to see the current circumstances become an excuse for extracting value from minority and small shareholders. Marcus Stuttard, Head of UK Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange is very clear: “Retail or individual investor participation, is really ...

White Paper idea re Financial Debt

This is a complex area. It would be good to hear your views and ideas. Please add them via the comments box below this blog. I was chatting on...

AGMs and impact of Covid-19

By Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director This is a complex area. It would be good to hear your views and ideas. Please add them via the comments box below this...