ShareSoc blasts plans for investors’ forum

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PROPOSALS to create an investor forum have been slammed as a “magic circle” for large institutional shareholders with access to corporate information not publicly available to all.

ShareSoc, a group representing individual investors, said recommendations published earlier this month appeared to have no democratic basis for 
selecting forum members.

There is also no commitment to public disclosure of what would be said at proposed “strategy meetings” between forum and company representatives. 
Roger Lawson, chairman of ShareSoc, said the secretive 
nature of the forum would “turn it into a cosy club of insiders”.

“This just looks like a new ‘City club’ for a few major City institutions rather than a forum for collective and open engagement,” Lawson added. “It’s surely a distortion of what was proposed in the Kay Review.”

The creation of an investor forum was one of the key recommendations of John Kay’s report on improving the workings of the stock market. The forum is meant to give investors oversight on corporate governance and pay standards, thus rebuilding trust in large listed firms.

Proposals for the forum were put together by the Collective Engagement Working Group chaired by John Anderson, the Baillie Gifford partner in charge of the £2.5 billion Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust. Having published its report, the group aims to open the forum by June.

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum has also challenged the composition of forum membership, saying asset owners “must be in command”, rather than asset managers.