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The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is failing private investors
The FRC is responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting. The UK Shareholders’ Association wants private investors to be given more opportunity to contribute to this.
For many years, this Association, known as UKSA, has made representations to the FRC, to balance its efforts to promote ‘stewardship’ by institutional investors with steps to improve the ability of private investors also to hold boards of directors to account. After successfully resisting the abolition of printed annual reports, UKSA has sought consideration of proposals for private shareholders’ committees and for better use of company annual general meetings, including the restoration of compulsory hand voting in addition to counting the proxies (why should those who take the trouble to attend AGMs be denied the chance to show how they feel about the resolutions being voted upon?).
UKSA also sought FRC support for the enfranchisement of those whose shares are held by nominees. Those who invest in selected companies ought to have the right without impediment to exercise the vote in those companies, but at present they don’t. These investors constitute a significant element of all UK investors and their shares, unlike those of institutional investors, are purchased with their own money.
Regrettably, the FRC has long failed to respond to these concerns, so we think they should now be made public.