Shareholder Democracy

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 ...

Shareholder rights, letters to MPs and questions at AGMs – An Update

Over 20 members have to my knowledge written to their MPs (as we requested) and a number of members have asked questions at AGMs. We have certainly raised the issue. The Minister (or most likely his civil servants) have produced what looks like a standard response which is being sent to those MPs who contacted Greg Clarke MP, the Secretary of State. Their response argues that the UK does not have to follow the intent of the EU Shareholder Rights Directive and ...

Clarification re Stock Lending and platform pooled nominee accounts

Kevin Taylor, a ShareSoc member, has pointed out to me in relation to my article page 12 of ShareSoc’s August newsletter, that stock-lending simply does not (should not under FCA rules) take place from standard pooled nominee accounts, the likes of which most retail investors would use.  The FCA’s rules could not be more explicit in this area: “A firm must not undertake or otherwise engage in stock lending activity with or for a customer unless … the firm has obtained the consent ...