Policy and Campaigns – Progress Update 20 Dec 2021

Since Oct 12 (see previous update here), we have worked on:

  1. Audit and Governance reform: many members have told us of their concerns about the disasters at Carillion and many others. We view the audit and governance reforms as crucial and have pressed for these to be moved forward as quickly as possible. We are concerned about lobbying to slow down this progress and co-signed a letter to the FT which was published on 12 Nov. 21.
  2. Woodford Campaign: Leigh Day continue to progress their claim. We met with the Chair and CEO of the Financial Ombudsman on 2 Nov to discuss how they were dealing with Woodford claims. Link have refused to provide a copy of the shareholder register which we want so we can communicate important information of interest to shareholders (i.e. investors in WEIF) – we intend to pursue this request as we regard their position as unacceptable.
  3. Voting Guidance and Shareholder Engagement: We continue to test our new ideas with a pilot study of FTSE30 companies. This is a major exercise and reports have been published for c20 companies. No new ones were published this month. See https://www.sharesoc.org/category/vci/ for more info.
  4. Consultation responses. No responses were submitted this month. We will respond to the Treasury Secondary Markets Placings Consultation.
  5. SVS/ITI: we continue to provide a Support Group to help those who assets were with SVS which went into administration and were transferred to ITI.
  6. FCA: We continue to liaise positively with the FCA over numerous issues that we think are important to individual investors and ensure that the FCA give due regard to the views of individual investors.
  7. FRC, BEIS, etc.: We also meet regularly with FRC, BEIS and other key influencers to present to them the views of individual investors.
  8. VCT Investor Group (see https://www.sharesoc.org/campaigns/vct-investors-group/)
    1. Edge: We are very annoyed with Edge Performance VCT directors Terry Back, Sir Aubrey Brocklebank and Sir Peter Bazalgette and have submitted resolutions to requisition a general meeting and remove these directors. This has attracted quite a lot of publicity see https://www.sharesoc.org/media-mention/more-media-coverage-of-edge-vct/ and we shall shortly be emailing Edge Shareholders advising how to vote at the forthcoming general meeting(s).
    2. Gresham House Strategic: We are very annoyed by a group of shareholders who seem to be led by the fund manager (Gresham House plc) and have requestioned a GM and resolutions to unseat the directors of Gresham House Strategic, who seem to have done a good job and fired the incumbent fund manager (Gresham House plc) and replaced them with a cheaper and in our view better fund manager.
  9. Bacanora Lithium: The Bacanora Investors Group, Think BIG, think the takeover price offered is too low and are campaigning strongly for a higher offer. They have crowdfunded the cost of mailing a letter to all shareholders
  10. Sirius Minerals Shareholder Group, Sirius Claim Group: We continue to evaluate the possibility of a claim.
  11. High fees for modest/average performance: We are very concerned about this. We are investigating closet indexing concerns and the potential benefits of a class action.

       

        Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc

         

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