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

LeaderITV Offers Access to All Investors on Results Call

Kudos to ITV plc for making this morning's results call fully accessible to all investors. They did this by 1) making their results presentation available on their website; 2) offering a Zoom webinar at 9am to all investors in which participants could ask questions live, orally. I didn't try to ask any questions myself so cannot confirm whether individual investors questions would have been taken in the same manner as the many analyst questions. Everyone was able to use the Zoom "raise ...

LeaderNewRiver REIT Open Interim Results Call

NewRiver has shown the way with their interim results call today. Their call was open to all investors and analysts simultaneously, providing a truly level playing field for individual investors. The call allowed all participants to ask questions and hear the answers. Sadly, this is unusual, with most companies either offering their individual investors a separate, later results call, or not offering anything at all for individual investors, whilst providing an opportunity only for analysts and institutions to quiz management. ShareSoc calls on all ...

LeaderUltimate Products (UPGS): Showing the Way in Shareholder Engagement

I was delighted to receive an invitation via research house, Equity Development, this afternoon to attend two events organised by LSE listed UPGS. Firstly, a presentation of their annual results on 3rd November, with an opportunity to ask questions and then a virtual showroom tour on 1st December. Too many listed and quoted companies restrict their results presentations to analysts and institutional shareholders, so it is good to see UPGS setting a good example and extending an invitation to all current and prospective ...

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 ...

Laggards

Laggard AGM voting farce at Go-Ahead Group

Discovery of a voting error is incredibly rare. I imagine that the fund managers who submitted the dissenting votes were on the lookout and saw something odd. Go-Ahead announced on 19 Jan 2022 that  its registrar, Equiniti,  have discovered an error in the collection of certain proxy votes submitted in relation to the resolutions put to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting ("AGM") held on 21 December 2021. Had these votes been included in the vote count, Resolution 4 to re-elect Adrian ...

Laggard DotDigital: how not to run an AGM

The views expressed in this article are those of its author and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. I have been a shareholder of DotDigital for 8 years now and I was appalled by the manner in which the virtual AGM that I have just attended was conducted. Shareholders were advised that in person attendance would not be possible, so a virtual AGM would be provided via the Investor-Meet-Company (IMC) platform. I duly completed the necessary formalities and looked forward to asking my questions ...

Laggard Unanswered Questions at Eleco

I received an unhelpful response to a question today (19th May) from Eleco (ELCO). I have been a shareholder for some time in this construction software company. The company announced on the 26th of April that it had received a requisition notice that covered resolutions to reappoint two directors, that all directors stand for re-election at future AGMs and that the remuneration committee report be approved. It was certainly unusual that such resolutions were not on the AGM agenda on the 6th ...

Laggard DDDD – 4D Pharma placing with no Primary Bid individual offer

By Cliff Weight, ShareSoc Director. I hold shares in DDDD. I am not sure if I am happy or angry with 4D Pharma. Duncan Peyton (Chief Executive Officer) and Alex Stevenson (Chief Scientific Officer) have each subscribed £725,000 for shares in the placing, which in total raised £20m at a price of 110p. Their commitment and increased skin in the game is excellent and praiseworthy. The share price this morning is 118p. So those who invested at 110p have a modest gain of 7%. However ...

Laggard Long Serving Directors and Maven VCT

I have long complained about directors serving on boards for longer than 9 years. The UK Corporate Governance Code (which you can easily find on the web) says any director who serves for more than 9 years cannot be considered “independent” and there should be a majority of independent directors. When the UK Corporate Governance Code was drafted, this principle of avoiding long-serving directors was introduced and I consider it a very sound principle. But investment trusts (including Venture Capital Trusts) continue ...