Fat cat pay remains top irritant

Company pay has topped the list of issues shareholders feel most strongly about

Company pay has topped the list of issues shareholders feel most strongly about, according to a poll.

A survey of just over 1,000 investors by stockbroker firm The Share Centre, revealed over a quarter (28%) of respondents viewed remuneration as the single biggest topic they would be interested in voting on, while nearly a fifth (17%) specifically chose bonuses.

Mergers and acquisitions also scored highly, with just over a fifth (21%) stating this as a pressing subject they would vote on.

However, the research found nearly a third (32%) of shareholders do not exercise their investor powers and vote on company resolutions.

According to the poll, conducted in October 2019, just under a quarter (23%) of shareholders regularly vote on company resolutions, while a further 44.5% sometimes vote.

Meanwhile, one in 10 (8%) shareholders named social and environmental issues as the number one issue from a voting perspective.

Asked what wider issues would compel them to voice an opinion with a company they invested in, climate change and renewable energy was the most common issue, chosen by over a third (36%) of shareholders.

Other areas that would push shareholders to confront companies included health and wellbeing (25%), weapons (22%), equality and diversity (22%), and animal testing (21%).

“Executive remuneration has long been an area scrutinised by shareholders. While other topics such as climate change and sustainability may be rising up the agenda, it’s clear to see this is not to the detriment of shareholders continuing to hold management to account on pay and performance,” Andy Parsons, head of investments and product proposition at The Share Centre, said.

“We will undoubtedly see environmental and sustainability issues continue to grow in importance over the coming years given the focus being placed upon them,” Parsons added.