The UKSA policy team has been investigating use of sections 146/147 of the Companies Act. These enable investors using nominee accounts to receive information from the companies in which they invest, but only if the nominee account provider chooses to “nominate” the beneficial owner for this purpose. The great majority of stockbrokers don’t do this and UKSA is beginning to challenge their reticence.
Claims are sometimes made in the media that investors have the right to be nominated, but this isn’t so. It has even been suggested by those who advocate the nominee system for all purposes that the Act gives investors the right to “demand representation”, but this isn’t so either. Investors using nominee accounts are not in a position to demand anything: they are wholly dependent on what their stockbrokers are prepared to provide.
Information rights, if granted by your stockbroker, can give you, free of charge, everything except the right to vote and the legal rights of ownership. This is for main-listed companies only, not those on the AIM. UKSA thinks the provisions of the Act are not good enough (see the attached paper) and is now seeking improvements to the Act. An article in The Private Investor (November 2013) explains the first steps being taken in this direction.