Corporate Stewardship

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 ...

Whose company is it anyway?

Paul Jackson wrote an in-depth analysis of the RBS Shareholder Committee campaign and the issues raised in the prestigious Investors Chronicle, 22 June 2018 issue, which is read by tens of thousands of investors. We are grateful to Paul and Investors Chronicle for giving us permission to reproduce this article. A rather strange thing happened at the RBS annual general meeting at the end of last month. UK Government Investments (UKGI) used its 70 per cent stake to help scupper a resolution ...

RBS Sale and Blackrock Smaller Companies AGM

The Government is selling off another tranche of its holding in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). By selling another 8% it will reduce its holding to 62% of the company. The Government (or “taxpayers” as some described them) will face a loss of about £2 billion on what it originally paid for the shares. There were howls of protest from some politicians. John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, said “There is no economic justification for this sell-off of RBS shares. There should ...

GKN and Melrose – The Reality

Melrose has won the voting battle to take control of GKN although the Government might yet step in to halt the takeover. On what grounds is not exactly clear. Never having held shares in either company, I thought it worth looking at the facts rather than the hyperbole surrounding this deal as there seemed to be some myths being propagated. Is GKN a key business in the UK’s engineering and technology infrastructure based on a long history of innovation? Or is it ...

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) ...

Government To Review Share Buy-Backs

The BEIS Department of the Government has announced a review of share buy-backs. That’s where the company buys its own shares in the market, a practice that used to be illegal but is now very widespread. Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “…there are concerns that some companies may be trying to artificially inflate executive pay by buying back their own shares. This review will examine how share buyback schemes are used and whether any action is required to prevent them from being ...

Investment Association Naughty Register

I heard Chris Cummings(CC) CEO of the Investment Association on the BBC Radio 4 this morning launching their new naughty register. https://www.theinvestmentassociation.org/publicregister.html The interview went something like this: BBC Interviewer: "Would you have done it if the Government has not led this initiative?" CC did not say YES. CC said: "This was an industry led initiative." BBC: "Yes, but would you have done it if the Government has not pushed it?" CC again declined to say YES. I surmise IA was led kicking and screaming into this by the ...

The belly of the beast – Con Keating and the Investment Association

I am not a great fan of the Investment Association, the trade body that represents UK investment managers. Its 200 members collectively manage over £6.9 trillion on behalf of clients in the UK and around the world. Regular readers will recall my pleasure when Chris Sier was appointed to improve the disclosure of fund manager fees, https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/an-audience-with-chris-sier-the-fcas-new-pit-bull-on-fund-fees-20170804 and my displeasure when the Investment Association were asked by HM Government to maintain the naughty register of companies with more than 20% of their ...