by Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc. These are my personal views and not necessarily those of ShareSoc. I own shares in Lloyds.
Lloyds summary of voting issues
The AGM is on May 20th, 2021. The share price is up nearly 100% from its recent nadir of 24p (22 Sep 2020) and is now 46p (@7/5/21). Like the other UK banks, Lloyds has performed woefully over 20 years, as the Stockopedia data shows. The best US banks (JP Morgan, Goldmans) have a different trajectory. Government fiscal policy makes it easy for banks to make money, currently. In the UK, the (Covid) rules on insolvency make it very difficult for companies to go bust, unless the directors want to and the Government backed loans scheme makes the Government at risk for most of the losses. My problem with banks is that they are too difficult for me to understand and I would rather invest in companies where at least I think I can understand the accounts and where the regulatory environment is clear and not subject to government politics. So I don’t own many shares in Lloyds, and am not really the best person to discuss how to vote!
An alternative argument is that, post the disastrous HBOS takeover in 2008, the financial crisis and the £13.5 bn rights issue in 2009, the survival of the bank and its slimming down and focus strategy was a huge challenge and that has been managed quite well. On this basis, the £60m plus pay received by exiting CEO Osorio is justifiable. The Daily Mail reported £60m Lloyds man bows out on a high: Antonio Horta-Osorio posts £1.9bn first quarter profits as he ends decade in charge. The FT reported “Lloyds Banking Group’s profits surged in the first quarter this year as a brighter economic outlook led the bank to reverse some of the provisions it had made for potential loan losses after the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.”
The Stockopedia data is interesting. The Minerva report highlights various issues in particular on remuneration:
Agenda Items RES 11 RES 15
- Remuneration Report: Benefit concerns. High level of LTIP awards during the year. Minerva Executive Remuneration Assessment grade ‘D’. On-grant performance conditions. Poor annual bonus target disclosures. Poor disclosure of LTIP performance conditions. Potential excessive levels of incentive pay.
- Bonus Deferral: High individual participation limit. Minerva Executive Remuneration Assessment grade ‘D’. Time between award date and release does not reflect investor expectations.
Also notable is last year’s voting – “The Company received votes against of 35% on the resolution to approve the remuneration policy, and votes against of 36% on the resolution to approve the long-term share plan 2020.”
I will probably vote against resolutions 11 and 15 and in favour of all the other resolutions. I expect all resolutions will be passed. There are however a number of concerns as explained in the very detailed Minerva reports. Readers should make their own voting decisions and DYOR (Do Your Own Research). Neither, I nor ShareSoc can give financial advice and nothing in this blog should be construed as advice.
Detailed information (click the link to see the reports)
- Stockopedia summary report
- Minerva voting issues
- Minerva Vote recommendations for the 28 April 2021 AGM based on their standard template
- Minerva detailed research report for the AGM LloydsBankingGroupplc-GOV-YE2021.
ShareSoc has introduced this new added value voting information service, for Full Members only, providing background information on leading companies and AGM vote guidance. Initially we are piloting this for FTSE30 companies, plus a few others in the FTSE100. This report is available for all ShareSoc members to read including Associates and will be discussed at the 10 May ShareSoc Information Session https://www.sharesoc.org/events/sharesoc-information-session-how-to-vote-at-agms-how-to-make-your-vote-count-10-may-2021-10am/
You can access all the information that ShareSoc has written on a company by clicking on the Research and Company Research buttons in the header on any ShareSoc webpage. This will take you to this page https://www.sharesoc.org/company-research/ . If you then enter the company name, eg Compass, Imperial, etc., then all the previous commentary on the ShareSoc website will appear. For some companies this is a veritable treasure trove of useful information.
We are very grateful to Minerva for providing us with access to their reports. Minerva are a leading global corporate governance firm and have kindly supported ShareSoc in this new initiative. Minerva are British and have a unique perspective on corporate governance issues.
We have also included the Stockopedia report for the company and are very grateful to Stockopedia for giving us permission to republish their reports. Readers are reminded that ShareSoc members can obtain a discount on the Stockopedia Subscription. See https://www.sharesoc.org/members-area/member-special-offers/
Previously published reports
- Imperial Brands, Feb 2021
- Compass, Feb 2021
- RELX, report published 17 April, AGM 22 April.
- BAT, AGM 28 April
- LSE, AGM 28 April
- NatWest, AGM 28 April
- Glencore, AGM 29 April
- Barclays, AGM 5 May
- Unilever, AGM 5 May
- Anglo American, AGM 5 May
- GSK, AGM 5 May
- Aviva, AGM 6 May
- BAe, AGM 6 May
- BP, 11 May
- AstraZeneca, 11 May
- Standard Chartered, 12 May
Future Reports that are planned include:
- Ocado Group plc, 13 May 2021
- Prudential plc, 13 May 2021
- Royal Dutch Shell plc, 18 May 2021