Monday 16 February 2015

Nominee Accounts: Update on ShareSoc's UK Shareholder Rights Campaign and Petition

The team over at ShareSoc have recently given their second update on their shareholder rights petition. Its a concern several investors in the UK have.

Many of us--thanks to the growth of online brokering--now hold our investments in nominee accounts. As a result, we often do not get the shareholder rights we would ordinarily receive if we held them directly in our own names.

This is particularly galling for those of us invested for the long haul. Not being able to vote on the key decisions offered to investors means we are not able to express our views (both good and bad) to those directors who are, ultimately, responsible for the running of the company and, indeed, some of our capital.

This is important not just from a "pure investor" point of view. Certainly, having a say on mergers and acquisitions and other such issues is important. However, it is also important in ensuring company's act responsibly.

Smaller investors--despite their clear pecuniary link with the company--are often keen to ensure that their chosen businesses behave in a correct and ethical manner. As a result, opening the voting to these investors can only be considered a positive step towards ensuring "corporate responsibility" is maintained.

If you would like to sign this petition, do please feel free to do so on ShareSoc's dedicated "Shareholder Rights" petition page.

ShareSoc are not, of course, the only shareholder group raising this issue. However, they have certainly been very active having attracted over 1,700 signers so far.

Similarly, they have produced two reports on the issue of increasingly prevalent nominee accounts and their shareholder rights disadvantages: Guaranteed Votes for All Shareholders and (most recently) Reforming UK Share Ownership.

[Creative Commons image reproduced from Flickr user Keith Ivey]

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