AIC shines light on platforms engaging investment trust shareholders

Few trust shareholders understand how to exercise voting rights when investing via a platform

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) in the UK is to recognise platforms helping shareholders in exercising their rights.

Ian Sayers (pictured), chief executive of the AIC, highlighted the right to vote is one of the benefits of investing in an investment company, with shareholders being able to have a say in how their company is run, and have the chance to make their voice heard at AGMs. However, not all investors know how to vote or take part in AGMs when they hold their shares through a platform.

“We have launched the AIC Shareholder Engagement Award to reward and recognise the platforms that do the best job of enabling shareholders to exercise their rights,” Sayers said.

The Shareholder Engagement Award will be open to all direct-to-consumer platforms and will focus on four core areas involving shareholder rights.

  • Shareholder voting. How well does the platform facilitate shareholder voting?
  • AGM participation. How well does the platform facilitate participation in annual general meetings (AGMs) for shareholders of investment companies?
  • Corporate actions. How efficiently and effectively does the platform notify shareholders about corporate actions, and enable them to respond where necessary?
  • Documents and data. How well do platforms display investment company documents (such as annual reports) and data?

Judged by platform specialists the lang cat, the award is aimed at driving higher levels of shareholder engagement among their customers by improving their process around shareholder voting, AGM attendance and corporate action, as well as simplifying access to important documents and data regarding their investments.

Steve Nelson, insight director at the lang cat, commented: “More investment company shareholders than ever hold their shares through platforms, so we think it’s important that those platforms make it as easy as possible for shareholders to have their say.

“We will be looking at a wide range of criteria to judge this award, with scores for each aspect of shareholder engagement entered into a scoring matrix to help us reach our decision. It’s not just about the winner – it’s also about recognising good practice wherever we find it, as well as highlighting areas where there is room for improvement across the sector.”

The submission framework for platform applicants can be viewed here.

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is editor in chief at MA Financial covering ESG Clarity, Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser. She was previously global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist...