Cliff Weight, director at campaign group ShareSoc, highlights that this is currently a frustration for Sirius Minerals (SXX), which is unable to directly contact investors held in nominee accounts regarding the takeover bid from Anglo American (AAL). See https://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/managing-your-money/2020/01/30/why-shareholders-votes-matter/ which is a fairly comprehensive review of the issues.
“Individual shareholders can greatly assist in corporate governance, effective company engagement and holding directors to account,” says Mr Weight.
Mr Weight says that private investors also tend to be “better than so-called professionals” at shareholder participation as they tend to buy and hold stocks over a long period, unlike professionals who are assessed on their performance over one to three years.
Peter Parry, director at campaigning body the UK Share Association, is hopeful that this could lead to a change in the rules so shareholders (not platforms) are named on shareholder registers.
Mr Weight says it is an embarrassment that we cannot have a straightforward system of share ownership. “The current system is a disgrace and does not reflect modern technology,” he says.