Shareholder Rights

Protect your rights, act now!

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to regain the rights and protections that you have lost as a result of the nominee account system. I urge you to act now by raising this issue at AGMs and writing to your MP, as suggested below. Probably the most important ShareSoc campaign is the Shareholder Rights campaign, launched in October 2014 to gain full rights for ALL shareholders. Individual shareholder rights have been eroded, particularly by the nominee account mechanism and the way that platforms and ...

Shareholder Rights

Probably the most important ShareSoc campaign is the Shareholder Rights campaign, launched in October 2014 to get full rights to ALL shareholders. Individual shareholder rights have been eroded, particularly by the nominee account process and the way that platforms, registrars and brokers fail to provide a good service to individual investors. Often, individual investors do not get informed when a general meeting is going to happen, and do not receive circulars, voting forms and annual reports. And many platforms make it difficult ...

Sophos, Interquest and Government Policy

Yesterday I missed the Sophos (SOPH) AGM due to having a clashing engagement, but I noticed that in the announcement of the voting results that there were substantial votes against the Remuneration Report (29.8% against) and also high votes against most of the directors. One only needs to glance at the Remuneration Policy to see why. The maximum bonus opportunity is 200% of salary, and the maximum LTIP award is 500% of salary in normal circumstances and up to 750% in exceptional ...

AIC Response to Green Paper

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) have published their response to the Government's Green Paper on Corporate Governance. One recommendation contained therein is that "The AIC also recommends that a detailed study to assess retail investors’ access to voting services on platforms and other nominee account services is undertaken to identify any necessary reforms". This is of course a very positive endorsement of an issue that ShareSoc has been campaigning upon for some time - see our campaign page here: Shareholder ...

How to Hold Shares – Investors Chronicle Article

Friday (11/3/2016) saw the publication of a sound article by Investors Chronicle under the headline "Choose the right way to hold your shares". It reported on the recently published BIS research paper on shareholding in the UK upon which we have previously commented. It quotes me extensively on the subject including these comments: "The UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc) said the report showed "the need for reform". Roger Lawson, deputy chairman of ShareSoc, says brokers have an incentive to keep investors ignorant ...

Better Finance Press Release on Shareholder Rights Directive

The following press release has just been issued by Better Finance - an organisation that represents private investor associations: PRESS RELEASE A CAPITAL MARKETS UNION WITHOUT A SINGLE MARKET FOR EU-WIDE SHAREHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Brussels, 9 November 2015 – The Commission’s proposal for the review of the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD), aimed at countering wide-spread short-termism in favour of a long-term perspective in the governance of listed companies by stimulating stronger shareholder engagement, was presented to the European Parliament (EP) and Council. Whereas the EP ...

Defeating Shareholder Democracy at Alliance Trust et al

The existing shareholding arrangements in public companies, with many investors in nominee accounts, now effectively frustrate shareholder democracy. Alternatively they make it either very difficult in practice, or enormously expensive. Let's look at a couple of examples where ShareSoc has some recent experience of requesting share registers - Alliance Trust and Rensburg AIM VCT. In terms of the size of the company and numbers of shareholders Alliance Trust is one of the larger public companies. It has recently come under attack from ...

ShareSoc Launches Share Ownership Reform Proposals

ShareSoc has just issued the following press release: ShareSoc Launches Share Ownership Reform Proposals ShareSoc has been campaigning for more rights for shareholders and we have now launched specific proposals on how we believe share trading should be reformed. In particular our proposals are aimed at tackling the loss of voting and other rights that currently arises from the use of stockbroker nominee accounts. Our suggestions include: The development of a new low cost electronic trading facility as recommended by the Kay Review, and which ...

A YouTube video on shareholder rights

The latest initiative in the ShareSoc campaign to improve shareholder rights is a video. In it I explain why shareholder democracy is important and how it has been totally undermined by the nominee system now in general use. Instead of you acquiring the rights of an owner of the business when you buy shares, those rights have been diverted and purloined by the nominee operator or stockbroker. This is simply wrong! That is why ShareSoc has been campaigning for change under the ...

Why should nominee operators have rights?

Following a meeting at the BIS Department where I discussed the issues associated with Part 9 of the Companies Act, and our suggestion that all shareholders (including those in nominee accounts) be on the share register of companies, I had some further thoughts on this subject. On reflection it seems very odd to me that nominee operators (i.e. your stockbroker) have the rights endowed by the Companies Act on shareholders. Investors in nominee accounts have no such rights (voting rights, information rights, ...