Find out how the group aims to improve shareholder vote reporting by UK asset managers.
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Shareholder voting is a powerful tool that investors can use to support and challenge the companies they invest in. Improving transparency of how asset managers vote on behalf of their clients will mean investors can better hold them to account on their stewardship.
The group’s launch and consultation
The Vote Reporting Group was set up in November 2022 to develop detailed proposals to enhance shareholder vote reporting by asset managers operating in the UK.
The aim is to design a comprehensive and standardised vote reporting framework. The consultation for these proposals has now closed. The proposals considered:
- key fields required
- voting categories
- inclusion of rationales for voting
- the supporting technology
- where it should be hosted
Improving vote reporting will mean asset owners can better assess asset managers as their intermediaries.
A standardised, industry-agreed approach should reduce the level of individual or ad-hoc vote reporting to clients and make vote reporting more consistent and easier to compare.
The group’s objectives align with the FCA’s operational objectives to protect consumers and ensure market integrity. The solution, once implemented, will also help ensure good outcomes in line with the Consumer Duty. The group’s work also aligns with the core ‘Transition’ theme in our Environmental Social Governance (ESG) work better enabling effective stewardship.
Outcomes we aim to achieve
Publicly accessible and comparable voting disclosures will highlight the voting practices of asset managers. To the extent that greater transparency improves stewardship across the industry so there should also be benefits to investee companies and the real economy through higher quality engagement and market discipline.
In addition, standardised vote reporting would complement other ESG policy initiatives, such as the Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR), and the work of the Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT), which emphasise the role of stewardship in supporting the transition to a more sustainable future.
Finally, centralised and standardised voting disclosures would also help FCA Supervision to verify aspects of asset managers’ claims about their stewardship activity. Therefore, contributing to other initiatives that aim to reduce the potential harm of greenwashing.
Taskforce on Pension Scheme Voting Implementation
The group will address several recommendations that were highlighted in a report by the Department for Work and Pensions-commissioned Taskforce on Pension Schemes Voting Implementation (TPSVI) in September 2021.
There were several trends that prompted the TPSVI review, including:
- increased demand and focus on pension scheme voting – particularly in relation to ESG issues
- increased focus on the outcomes of stewardship and voting
- reporting issues connected to disclosure, data and forms of reporting
The report found that regulatory and member expectations of pension schemes in relation to stewardship have increased and they are not adequately supported by their asset managers to fulfil these.
The FCA is the secretariat for the group. It has members across the investment community invited through their representative organisations. They include investment managers, pension funds, insurers, companies, investment consultants, proxy advisers and non-governmental organisations.