Shareholder disputes up 25 per cent, says Investment Association

The number of “shareholder rebellions” has risen by more than a quarter in 2018, new research reveals.

The Investment Association (IA), which published the figures, said a growing number of shareholders are using their votes to hold executives to account.

Its most recent report shows that 120 FTSE All-Share companies were added to the Public Register up to the end of July 2018, compared to 110 added during the same period last year.

Likewise, a total of 237 individual resolutions were added to the Public Register in 2018, an uptick of 25 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The IA notes that 29 “repeat offenders” appeared on the Public Register for the exact same resolution.

The figures also show that “opposition to individual director re-election” was a key driver of shareholder angst this year, with resolutions more than doubling from 38 in 2017 to 80 in 2018.

Although executive remuneration remains a key theme, resolutions in this area declined from 68 in 2017 to 61 in 2018.

Earlier this year, the IA said shareholder concerns over director accountability are at an all-time high since the introduction of the Public Register, an “aggregated list of publicly available information regarding meetings of companies in the FTSE All-Share who have received significant shareholder opposition”.

Commenting on the most recent report, Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said: “Shareholders have shown their teeth this year over FTSE 250 director re-election. They are using their votes to hold individual directors to account for decisions they made on issues such as executive pay and board diversity, as well as concerns that individual directors do not have the bandwidth to fulfil their roles as they spread themselves too thinly on too many boards.”

If you have found yourself locked in a dispute with your shareholders, or would like specialist legal advice with regards to setting up a shareholder’s agreement, contact Stuart Brennan at StuartBrennan@cartercamerons.com, Andrew Firman at AndrewFirman@cartercamerons.com or Kate Boguslawska at katarzynaboguslawska@cartercamerons.com. Alternatively, please call 020 7406 1000 today.