Working in Brussels for private investors in the UK

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The UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) is an active member of Better Finance for All, the Brussels-based organisation that works for private savers and investors within the EU and for 2015 has voluntarily increased its subscription by 50 per cent.

As the EU plays an increasing role in member states’ financial markets, it becomes increasingly important that UK private investors are well represented in Brussels. An UKSA director sits on the Better Finance board and three representatives from UKSA comprised the UK contingent at its general assembly in Wiesbaden last December, followed by a conference on shareholder rights.

Shareholder rights are in focus in the EU because of planned revisions to the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD) of 2007. Unfortunately, EU officials and MEPs do not understand that, in UK law, investors in nominee accounts are not recognised as shareholders, so the 2007 SRD was of no benefit to these investors and, unless the proposed SRD is suitably amended it will be no different. Working with its Better Finance representatives, UKSA has drafted and submitted appropriate amendments for which it is seeking European Parliament support, but interest in the subject even among UK MEPs is lacking, which is likely to be at least part because of ignorance, which UKSA hopes to remedy. Members of the relevant EP committee, JURI, can be found here.