Shareholder Democracy

Invitation to Meet with Royal Mail, April 8th 15.30pm

Following the Royal Mail's AGM in 2018, at which 70% of shareholders rejected the Director's Remuneration Report, the Royal Mail are embarking on a series of consultative meetings with major shareholders and shareholders' representatives to discuss their concerns. Such a meeting has been called specifically for representatives of UK Shareholders Association and ShareSoc and will be held at the Royal Mail's premises at Victoria Embankment London on April 8th and attended by Orna Ni-Chionna, NED and Chair of the Remuneration Committee; Julia ...

Excessive Pensions, Lloyds Bank and RBS

Over 20% of shareholders voted against the Lloyds 2017 Remuneration Report. Lloyds then consulted with shareholders, but this still resulted in the awful recent press. Clearly the engagement process did not work. I therefore call for Lloyds Bank to implement a Shareholder Committee, which is a more formal and regular engagement process, which builds trust and understanding between committee members and the company. This can only improve the current processes. The Lloyds 2018 annual report says: Responding to feedback We were disappointed that our ...

Unhelpful Computershare provide RBS register in ugly pdf format

I am writing this blog to castigate Computershare for their unhelpful service and suggest that registrars should be required to respond to valid register requests with a more usable response. I recently requested a copy of the RBS register of shareholders. I wanted this so we could write to RBS shareholders about the upcoming resolution for a shareholder committee at the 2019 RBS AGM. Despite repeated requests, Computershare refused to provide the register in a user friendly format. I know that the Computershare system is capable of ...

Stewardship Should Reflect Views of Beneficial Owners

We, ShareSoc, think that individual investors have been disenfranchised by the nominee system and by the difficulties in getting timely copies of Annual Reports, AGM notices and voting forms. It is estimated only 6% of individual investors shares get voted, which is a disgrace. What is needed is a neat, easy to use system that makes it ultra quick and easy to vote your shares. Individuals who invest in funds have little or no control over how the shares in their funds ...

RBS General Meeting: You Decide!

I have today published two posts on ShareSoc's blog, expressing different opinions on RBS's proposed resolution to buy back shares from HM Treasury. One from our chairman and another from senior ShareSoc member Roger Lawson. Firstly, the facts. You can find full details of the General Meeting and proposal here: https://investors.rbs.com/shareholder-centre/shareholder-meetings.aspx. If you are a shareholder you should study the circular available from that webpage before deciding how to vote. ShareSoc encourages its members to make their own minds up on matters such as ...

FRC and FCA Investigations: Managing expectations, and Blancco news

Peter Parry and I now have regular meetings with the FRC and FCA to discuss topics of interest. We met Jen Sisson of the FRC on 23 Sep and...

Meeting with Link Asset Services

I recently attended a meeting with Link Asset Services who claim to be the largest UK share registrar. In addition to me there were two senior managers from Link and two ShareSoc directors (Mark Northway and Mark Bentley). ShareSoc and I do of course have a long-standing interest in ensuring shareholders can and do vote their shares at General Meetings. Other matters discussed were the problems created by nominee accounts, in the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD), in the Central Securities Deposit ...

Soukup Soaks Up More Voting Power at Thalassa

There was an interesting RNS out yesterday for Thalassa (THAL). Following an amendment to the Company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, and without a shareholder vote, each shareholder was issued with one Preference Share for each Ordinary Share held. Each Preference Share carries 10 votes, and given that they were given out on a one for one basis to Ord holders, it seems fair and simply multiplies the total voting rights by 11. (1 plus the 10 new votes per old ...

Abcam, Pay and Voting

As a long-standing shareholder in Abcam (ABC), I have just received the Annual Report and I am not happy. Abcam rather surprised the market when they issued their preliminary results which showed a massive investment in a new Oracle IT system was in difficulties. Clearly the project is over-budget and over-schedule. Costs are ramping up in other areas also and the result was a lowered broker forecast and an instant collapse in the share price – down over 30% at one point ...

Worldwide Healthcare Trust AGM – But No Proxy Voting Form

Today I attended the Annual General Meeting of Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) in London. This is an investment trust focused on a portfolio of worldwide pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. It has a very good long-term track record, consistently beating its benchmark and is the top performer of all UK investment trusts measured since formation. The fund manager is OrbiMed where Sam Isalay was the managing partner until recently when he departed under a cloud of sexual harassment claims. He also resigned from ...