Shareholder Democracy

Retail Shareholder Participation in Voting – US study

Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director reviews Retail Shareholder Participation in the Proxy Process: Monitoring, Engagement, and Voting: Working Paper N° 637/2019 November 2019: By Alon Brav, Matthew D. Cain, Jonathon Zytnick This is a US study on US retail shareholders. Those with a statistical bent and a love of algebra will find the study fascinating and enjoyable. Others may find it less so! However, it does have important conclusions, which I summarise below. I think we can extrapolate that these conclusions probably also apply to ...

Law Commission Error on Segregated Accounts

In a previous blog post on the Law Commission’s consultation on Intermediated Securities I queried their claim that all investors in nominee accounts had the option to use a segregated account (i.e. a “designated account” where your name is on the share register, not just the nominee operator’s). They claim this is mandated by an EU regulation. This is extremely important because a simple “pooled” nominee account that most stockbrokers use does not give you clear ownership of the shares. If ...

Deferred Shares Report and Voting Trends Survey

Study shows low adoption of deferred share plans Tom Gosling, Partner, PwC | Executive Fellow, London Business School | Steering Committee Member, Purposeful Company Taskforce has written a good report on executive incentives, arguing the case for deferred shares (i.e. long term share plans with no performance conditions, except in extreme conditions). It is well worth reading. Here’s the summary findings report: https://lnkd.in/d9_B8cm and the key points are below. A quarter of the UK’s biggest companies are failing to adopt the right remuneration polices ...

Albion Venture Capital VCT (AAVC) AGM Result and Actions

30% of shareholders opposed the increase in fees at the AAVC AGM. This is a remarkable result and sends a strong signal to the directors that they need to better engage with their shareholders. I think the % voting against would have been higher if: we had started our campaign earlier we had received the shareholder register earlier we had been able to get in touch with all shareholders prior to the AGM the directors had not sent out a letter to ...

Voting Problems, Computershare, Albion Venture Capital and PLAIN ENGLISH.

By Cliff Weight Computershare have refused to accept a vote instruction for the Albion Venture Capital AGM, because it was sent to them electronically. It was signed, scanned and sent to them by email. They say that the meeting notice says what form the instruction must be sent and this overrides the Companies Act, CA2006 S333. The notice says the instruction must be sent to Computershare, but does not say how (see below for the precise wording used). In this modern age, surely ...

Albion Venture Capital Trust PLC and Ventus funds

The Albion Venture Capital AGM is on Wed 21 Aug. Cliff Weight, Mark Lauber, Tim Grattan and others will be attending and asking questions. I finally received the Albion Venture Capital register on 16 August 2019. However, Albion Venture Capital VCT Chair Richard Glover wrote to all 5,300 shareholders on 15 August. Many were sent emails but the copy of the register we were given did not have email addresses, so we were unable to email shareholders. In the time available ...

Ventus and Ventus 2 VCTs– obstacles to a level playing field in unseating directors

By Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director I was pleased to see the highly respected and influential Investors Chronicle taking an interest in and writing a balance article on the Ventus funds, see https://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/comment/2019/07/18/limits-of-influence/ The IC seems to think ShareSoc is leading and driving the campaign, whereas the campaign leader is Nick Curtis, but other than this point I think it is a very good article. What is becoming apparent is how extremely difficult it is to unseat directors, because the playing field is tilted so ...

Shareholder Rights Being Eroded

There is a good article in the Financial Times today (Saturday 22/6/2019) which is headlined “UK shareholder rights being eroded”. As the article says, almost no investors who buy shares legally own the shares they have bought, which rather surprises them. That’s because most of them buy via nominee accounts operated by stockbrokers and platforms. Not only that, but most nominee accounts are “pooled” accounts so even identifying who are the “beneficial owners” is not always easy. Does it matter? Yes it ...

VCT Investor Group – Ventus & Ventus 2 VCT Shareholder Resolutions

Examples of egregious fee structures and of passive directors are to be found in many VCTs (Venture Capital Trusts). ShareSoc and its members campaign to try to rein in the worst offenders, see https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/vct-investors-group/ Our principal objectives are: To provide best practice guidelines on management fees, performance fees, directors’ tenure and independence. To provide advice for investors on specific VCTs by Identifying existing holders willing to work with others to share knowledge, to identify areas of concern and to make ...

Worldwide Healthcare Trust and Investor Voting

I recently received the Annual Report of Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH). This is one of those companies that has stopped sending out proxy voting forms for their AGM. The Registrar is Link Asset Services who seem to be making it as difficult as possible for shareholders on the register to vote. You either have to contact them to request a proxy voting form, or register for their on-line portal. I don’t want to register (and the last time I tried it ...