Our Aims

The UK Shareholders' Association (UKSA) is the leading independent organisation representing the interests of private shareholders in the United Kingdom. We:

  • Campaign for your shareholder rights
  • Give you direct access to company directors
  • Help you make better investments
  • Invite you into our community of like-minded people

More about UKSA

Shareholders are being misled by faulty remuneration reporting requirements

UK Shareholders’ Association directors are seriously concerned about faults in company reporting regulations concerning information about executive remuneration and apparent failures by the appropriate authorities to monitor actual remuneration reporting practices. Two major house-builders are the immediate cause.
UKSA’s policy team has discovered some shocking facts.

• The latest Persimmon report does not reveal that, under a 2012 LTIP, whose performance condition is now 99% certain to be achieved, 4 directors will receive £142m.

• Persimmon’s ‘min/average/max’ forecast remuneration charts for 3 top individuals, required by the regulations, have been omitted without comment

• If awards to other senior Persimmon executives are included, the total liability under this LTIP is c£400m, but the amount reserved for all unvested LTIPS is just £19m.

• Taylor Wimpey reports in each of the past three years have substantially under-stated the CEO’s maximum pay possible in the succeeding year (eg by £2.2m on the last occasion)

• Examination of Taylor Wimpey’s remuneration reports suggests that the basis on which maximum bonuses will be paid can be concealed from the members.
UKSA’s policy team believes that current reporting regulations are based on a Financial Reporting Council report which was seriously defective, but has been unable to secure agreement to a rethink.

A meeting is now being sought with the FRC to discuss UKSA’s latest findings.

Do investment managers have principles?

The UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) was recently asked to comment on a report, linked to the Financial Times, that some prominent fund managers were reluctant to declare their support for a newly published ‘Statement of Principles.

The Investment Association, which claims to represent over 200 UK investment managers who manage more than £5 trillion for clients around the world, wants all investment managers to sign up to its set of principles. It wants them to be applied so that members of pension schemes and other “ultimate beneficiaries” of collective investments are given the same consideration as clients with which they have a direct, legal relationship. It further expects them to set out on their websites how they will be applied and confirm this “on an annual basis”.

Ignites Europe, a Financial Times service, found some fund managers still reluctant to commit to the principles three months after publication, including Fidelity, State Street Global Advisors and Woodford Investment Management. It was completely unable to discover why Aberdeen, M&G, PIMCO, Schroders, BNY Mellon, Jupiter, Investec and Standard Life had not signed up. UKSA’s comment was, “It is imperative that those entrusted with other people’s money behave in accordance with the kind of principles set out by the Investment Association (and) it is astonishing that some are reluctant to say that they do.”

Prudence should not be left shyly waiting in the wings

A UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) paper published today finds serious deficiencies in the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB’s) attempt to assure equity investors that company accounts will be more dependable in future than has been the case in recent years.

Roger Collinge FCA, UKSA’s head of corporate governance, analyses in detail faults in the IASB’s thinking revealed by a recent article written on the IASB’s behalf by IASB member Steve Cooper, published in the IASB’s journal, Investor Perspectives. The article, “A tale of ‘prudence’” sets out to explain how the IASB has responded to investors’ concerns that the removal of ‘prudence’ as an accounting principle from International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) was a contributing factor in the banking crisis of 2008.

The IASB is responsible for IFRS and has just published what it calls an ‘exposure draft’ of a revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting. This is where the concept of prudence reappears, but as the conceptual framework is not being accorded the status of a standard, neither is prudence. UKSA has long campaigned for the reintroduction of prudence, but as a standard, not as some vague reference point. UKSA questions the logic behind the conceptual framework and is asking the IASB to think again. Any body of work which purports to have underlying concepts must fully embrace those concepts.

A Capital Markets Union for individual savers and investors

Hot on the heels of the Brussels conference on EU proposals for a capital markets union (see previous news item), the UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) has sent the Commission its opinion on two vital matters for private investors.

The EU has issued a ‘Green Paper’ to consult on its Capital Markets Union proposals. As a member of Better Finance, the organisation representing private shareholder associations and the like across Europe, UKSA supports that body’s representations to the Commission, but we also had something special to say. This is because the UK is different from other member states in denying normal shareholder rights to investors using pooled nominee accounts.

UKSA has for many years been in the forefront of efforts to amend the law with regard to nominee accounts. This principally rests with the UK government to do and we are seeking an early resumption of our discussions now that the new government is in place. However, the EU, through various directives and regulations, sets the conditions for member states’ legislation on such matters, so what the EU decides does matter to us. This is why UKSA has substantially raised its financial contribution to Better Finance (which is now 85% of the contributions from the UK).

Join UKSA to help secure the rights and protections that UK savers and investors need.

A Capital Markets Union for the EU

What part do private investors have in the EU’s plans for a ‘capital markets union’ (CMU)? They may have to fight to be heard, because they are thought to be too risk averse and short-term oriented.

Three representatives of the UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) attended a conference in Brussels on 6th May to hear a series of eminent speakers, including the new financial commissioner, Lord Hill, discuss what CMU is likely to involve.

The European Commission has stated that EU households are the main source of long-term financing for the real economy. That is where the money comes from, but what guarantees will they have that their savings are being properly looked after and invested? As things stand individual European citizens run the risk of being sidelined and dismissed by the future architects of the CMU, but this must not happen, says Guillaume Prache, managing director of Better Finance, an organisation representing investor bodies across Europe to which UKSA is the principal UK affiliate.

Guillaume Prache asserts, “For CMU to succeed, European citizens, as individual investors and savers, should be at the heart of the project. With 62% of financial savings invested in long-term investment products and (more) in small and mid-caps than large caps, (they) prove themselves to be less risk-averse and more long-term oriented than institutional investors are”.

Return Capital Markets to Their Natural Participants A Better Finance Press Release May 2015

An EU Capital Market Union for Growth, Jobs and Citizens A Better Finance Briefing Paper May 2015

A new tool for private investors

The iPad has a new app. Devised by Capita Asset Services, ‘Signal documents’ enables users to download and use shareholder documents for most of Capita’s 880 stock market clients, 43% of the market.

Experienced investors from the UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) were consulted by Capita early in the project and again at a late stage providing advice on using the app. There is no intention of abandoning printed reports for those who want them, but ‘Signal’ will provide additional facilities for investors, which UKSA warmly welcomes. The app is now available. Search for “signal documents” on the app store to download for free to your iPad.

The app enables users to mark passages, highlight them and add notes using a soft keyboard. Once opened in ‘my documents’, reports can be handled using normal iPad features such as expanding text for readability, but there is also a very user friendly search facility and the ability to move swiftly through documents such as company reports to find the desired location. Companies can be placed on a ‘watch’ list to notify you of new documents available for download. Documents can be viewed and annotated offline once downloaded.

Following feedback from UKSA to Capita, new enhancements are on the way, including a simple explanation on how to use the app and an annotations margin.

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