ShareSoc
LEADERS AND LAGGARDS

This page lists “leader” awards that ShareSoc considers companies have earned by exemplifying good practice in corporate governance and individual shareholder engagement; and “laggard” awards for those who’s behaviour falls short and we want to call out for poor practice.

Examples of good practice are responding to shareholder requests and concerns; good engagement with individual shareholders, as well as with analysts and institutions; good remuneration practices.

Examples of poor practice are holding general meetings at times and locations that make it difficult for many shareholders to attend; presenting exclusively to analysts and institutions and not offering the same opportunities to engage with individual shareholders; excessive executive remuneration.

Please contact us if you would like to nominate a company for a “leader” or “laggards” award.

ShareSoc has formed its views of these companies at the time recorded and using member recommendations and publicly available information. Companies are commended or criticised for the behaviour described. ShareSoc does not claim that the company is a leader or laggard in other aspects of its operations or that its behaviour is the best or worst example available. We describe it as “a” leader/laggard not “the” leader/laggard. If you feel that this assessment is based on inaccurate information at the time of writing or should be reconsidered subsequently, please contact us with further details.

Leaders

LeaderBHP Shows the Way With Covid-constrained AGMs

Like other companies, BHP will not be admitting shareholders to its AGM, due to current Covid-19 restrictions. Unlike many others, however, it is doing the next best thing and holding an online "shareholder forum" on 23rd September ahead of the proxy voting deadline of 13th October, for registered shareholders voting online. If, like most individual shareholders, your shares are held in a nominee account, you should check with your broker/platform what the deadline is for submitting votes through them. This meeting will enable ...

LeaderSomero AGM: A Good Attempt

I would like to commend Somero (AIM:SOM) for making a good attempt to engage with investors at the their AGM, despite Covid-19 restrictions. Their approach contrasts with that of many companies that have ducked the issue and simply closed their AGM to shareholders. Ahead of their AGM today, Somero announced web and telephone access for their AGM, which I have just participated in. The web link allowed audio access and gave shareholders the ability to ask questions. The technology worked well and ...

LeaderExemplary Remuneration at Judges Scientific

I recently commented negatively on the remuneration section of the Annual Reports of Greggs and Avast. Today I read another Annual Report from Judges Scientific (JDG) and it’s a completely different story. I have held shares in this company which is a scientific instrument maker since 2010. The share price then was 327p. It’s now 4940p. Led by CEO David Cicurel in that period, as the Annual Report says the “Management is focused on shareholder value – profitability, cash generation, debt reduction, ...

LeaderShell: Leading the Way for AGMs in Covid Times

Shell has today announced a webcast for all shareholders, ahead of the proxy voting deadline for its AGM. It's slightly disappointing that only written questions will be taken, preferably submitted ahead of the webcast. It's also a bit of a concern that the webcast is only two days before the proxy voting deadline, which may not be sufficient time for those holding shares in nominee accounts to submit their votes. It is understandable that Shell may not have been able to set ...

LeaderBT’s CEO Sets a Good Example

The BBC is reporting that BT's CEO will donate half his annual salary to charity and has promised not to lay off staff. Setting a good example that other CEOs on generous packages should follow at this time when individuals and H.M. Treasury are making big sacrifices to protect the nation's health and economy. It should be noted, however, "half his annual salary" appears to refer to his BASE salary, as reported in more depth, here: https://www.cityam.com/bt-gives-staff-pay-rise-as-chief-executive-donates-salary/ His MAXIMUM salary, including potential cash and ...

Laggards

Laggard Hugely Disappointing That ImmuPharma Excludes Individuals From Placing

I have been an investor, supporter and follower of ImmuPharma. So I was appalled to read that ImmuPharma (LSE:IMM) has raised £6.5 million, before expenses, via an oversubscribed placing of 59,090,909 new ordinary shares at a price of 11p per share. There was no Primary Bid offer and no notification to investors who hold their shares via nominee of this placing nor any invitation for them to share in the spoils. The placing was at 11p and the share price this morning ...

Laggard Laggard: Another example of Show of Hands without attendance at Forterra plc AGM

Forterra plc held their meeting on 14 May 2020 and resolutions were passed by way of a show of hands, and yet, the provisions for the meeting were as follows: “As a result, shareholders are not permitted to attend the AGM in person and will not be admitted.  Questions can be submitted to your Board by e-mail to investors@forterra.co.ukand it is our intention to arrange a conference call with our Chief Executive and Chief Financial officers once the current crisis has passed.” So that ...

Laggard Biffa: A Token Retail Offering is Not Good Enough

It was initially pleasing to see FTSE250 company, Biffa plc, recognise its retail shareholders, by making an offer though PrimaryBid alongside its recent institutional placing. As ever, the Prospectus Regulation meant that the retail offer was limited to €8m (otherwise a costly prospectus would have to be issued to make a larger offer to retail investors). Pretty paltry compared to the £100m institutional placing. I applied for the retail offer and was disappointed that my application was scaled back by nearly 50%. Disappointment ...

Laggard Laggards? AJ Bell Directors/PDMRs’ share sales, Numis, Invesco and the FCA

On Friday, 22nd May 2020 at 16:16 an RNS announced that Fergus Lyons (a Managing Director at AJ Bell) had sold 1.25 million shares at 448.637p and his wife another 25,000. Michael Summersgill (CFO) sold 5,000 shares and his wife sold 420,00o on 21 May 2020 at the same price. However, a day earlier on Thursday 21 May at 16.51, AJ Bell announced in an RNS that Invesco "has today indicated its intention to sell up to approx 31 million shares" in a placing, organised ...

Laggard Direct Line Group: How Not to Do Covid-19 Affected AGMs

In common with many other companies, Direct Line Group has "taken the easy way out" of handling its AGM when shareholders cannot attend in person due to Covid-19 restrictions. In this announcement of 21st April, Direct Line confirms that shareholders will not be able to physically access their AGM. Only proxy votes may be submitted. Direct line also say: Shareholders may send any questions about the business of the AGM to the Company Secretary at the Company's registered office or by email to ...