02.20.2020

Shareholder Dissent Hits Quarter Of FTSE All Share

  • 158 FTSE companies added to the Public Register in 2019 as investment managers hold companies to account
  • A quarter of FTSE All Share companies added to the Public Register in 2019
  • 62 companies appeared on the Register in 2019 for pay-related resolutions

Investment managers have kept up pressure on companies in 2019, with key themes including executive pay and director re-election continuing to top the list of concerns.

New analysis compiled by the Investment Association (IA) shows that in 2019 158 FTSE All-Share companies were added to the IA’s Public Register, which tracks when there is a vote of over 20% at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or General Meeting (GM).  A vote of over 20% marks a significant shareholder dissent as investment managers look to hold companies to account to ensure they provide long-term returns for savers.

A quarter of the FTSE All Share companies landed themselves on the Public Register, with a total of 298 individual resolutions being added in 2019. This was a slight increase on 2018 in which 151 companies and 294 resolutions added to the Register. Furthermore, 39 companies appeared on the Register for the exact same resolution in both 2018 and 2019.

Executive pay continued to feature at the top of investors’ concerns with 62 companies appearing on the Register in 2019 for pay-related resolutions. In particular, 31 FTSE 250 companies appeared on the Register for such resolutions – an increase of over 29%.

Opposition to individual director re-election also remained a key theme, with the number of resolutions against individual directors remaining constant at 103 in 2019 (105 in 2018).

As the Public Register reaches its third year, companies are doing more to acknowledge shareholder dissent, with over 80% of firms now making a public statement acknowledging the concerns and outlining how they plan to engage with shareholders – an increase from 55% in the Public Register’s first year.

Andrew Ninian, Director for Stewardship and Corporate Governance at the IA, said: 

“Investment managers are keeping up the pressure on companies to align executive pay with their long-term strategy. With a quarter of FTSE All Share companies ending up on the Register in 2019, investment managers will be paying close attention this year when companies bring their pay policies to the table to see whether they’ve heeded the high levels of dissent.”

Source: IA

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