Shareholder dissent remains muted
Given some high profile corporate disasters of late, including the likes of Carillion, Patisserie Valerie and Thomas Cook, you might have expected shareholders to be champing at the bit to hold companies to account.
However, data from Minerva Analytics 2019 UK Voting Review shows shareholder dissent or the proportion voting against resolutions at FTSE 350 firms’ AGMs remains pretty modest and below where it was a decade ago at 2.95%.
Beneath this headline number there are signs that investors are ‘picking their battles’, showing significant dissent in some high profile examples.
Still the number of resolutions which received dissent of 20% or more according to Minerva only totalled 126 during this most recent AGM season compared with 148 in 2018. The appointment of directors and executive pay remained the hottest issues. Board resolutions accounted for 41.3% of all high dissent resolutions and remuneration for 32.5%.
Minerva includes abstentions when recording dissent on the basis that this represents showing a ‘yellow card’ to management.
Interestingly the report shows that nearly 50% of the companies which have received dissent of 20% or more are repeat offenders having also received high levels of dissent in 2018.