Standard Life leads protests over divi cut at RSA’s AGM

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STANDARD Life Investments (SLI) led the protests at fellow institutional investor RSA’s annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday as shareholders rebelled over the dividend being slashed by a third and concerns regarding the auditor’s appointment.

Guy Jubb, head of governance and stewardship at SLI, which holds a 2.6 per cent stake in RSA, said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the size of the cut, to 3.9p.

Jubb also expressed concern at the fees paid to auditor Deloitte for consultancy work. RSA replaced Deloitte with KPMG as its auditor at yesterday’s AGM but shareholders were still upset.

Some 11.6 per cent of votes were either abstentions or against the board setting the auditor’s remuneration. More than 7 per cent of votes also failed to back the re-election of ex-KPMG executive Alastair Barbour as a non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee. RSA said it was satisfied Barbour was independent of KPMG.

News of the rebellion came a day after Standard Life’s own AGM, when chairman Gerry Grimstone was forced to defend its pay policy, saying a bonus had become a “dirty word”.