Shareholder Democracy

GB Group, Social Media, Rightmove and Alliance Trust

Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of GB Group (GBG) in Chester. An absolutely horrendous road journey both there and back mainly due to road works as far as I can tell. But my satnav took me on the M25, M11, A14, M6, M54 and numerous minor roads on the way there from south-east London, and the M6, A50, M1, A14, M11, M25 and other minor roads on the way back. A typical example of how the UK road network ...

Premier Foods, stock lending, custodians, shareholder rights and nominee accounts

The background to my comments is below: KATE BURGESS in the FT on 15 July 2018 reported that accusations of empty voting — where investors borrow voting shares for short periods to swing the outcome at meetings —reverberated around the market ahead of Premier Food’s shareholder meeting next week. They were sparked when Oasis Management , the Hong Kong activist hoping to unseat Premier’s chief executive Gavin Darby, said it had increased its stake in the owner of Angel Delight from 9 to ...

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 ...

Voting at General Meetings, Link Asset Services and CentralNic

CentralNic (CNIC) have announced that the proxy voting forms they sent out to shareholders on the register for their forthcoming General Meeting were invalid as it omitted a signature block. So they have sent them out again. As a shareholder in the company, I spotted the error and simply wrote my name and the date on the bottom of the form and signed it. That should suffice. It is a little known fact that you don’t actually need to use the proxy ...

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 ...

Directors Removed But One Reappointed at Telit

More interesting events at the Telit Communications (TCM) AGM yesterday. This is a company that has been through troubled times of late with the departure of former CEO Oozi Cats under a cloud and lots of questions about their accounts being raised. But events at the AGM were even more surprising when the Chairman Richard Kilsby and two other non-executive directors were voted off the board on a poll. The meeting lasted all of ten minutes apparently. Existing non-executive director Simon Duffy ...

Hybrid AGMs and British Land

The British Land Plc (BLND) Annual General Meeting is coming up on the 17th July and I took the opportunity to review the agenda items as some are particularly interesting this year. One resolution refers to a change in the Articles which have been substantially revised. They include: A new resolution to permit “hybrid” General Meetings where some members can participate electronically instead of attending in person. But “all electronic” meetings are still not permitted. This is surely a good initiative ...

BEIS Consultation on Insolvency and Corporate Governance

We have submitted jointly with the UK Shareholders Association our response to the consultation on Insolvency and Corporate Governance. The response was written by  Cliff Weight - Director, UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc) and Peter Parry - Policy Director, UK Shareholders' Association. Click here to read it.

Edge Performance VCT – the Worst Show on Earth?

Long suffering shareholders will note that the AGM of this underperforming VCT will be held in London on 11 June. But we’re in for a treat this year - there are not just one, but five meetings in store for us, and there is plenty for shareholders to consider. New performance fees, high general fees for a portfolio mostly in runoff, voting to entrench the manager further, and selective proxy gathering at your expense. There’s something here for everyone – except ...

Should Trust Managers Attempt to Unseat the Board in a Dispute over Fees?

Investment trust directors should be independent of the manager. But sometimes the latter appear to think otherwise. Such is the case at Invesco Perpetual Enhanced Income Ltd (IPE), an investment company that invests in high yield bonds and other assets. It is managed by Invesco Perpetual. The latter have resigned as fund manager after a dispute over fees it is alleged. They have now also requisitioned a general meeting of the company to remove the trust’s Chairman, Donald Adamson, and director ...