Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) has launched an online proxy service, providing clients with a more straightforward way to exercise their voting rights.
Developed in partnership with fintech company Broadridge, HL’s voting service covers all of the UK and European shares on its platform, which total 5,800 tradeable equities.
HL’s head of trading proposition, Tom Lee, said investors are taking a keener interest in exercising their voting rights, and influencing corporations on issues such as board diversity, climate change and sustainability.
The news comes after Interactive Investor reported a 30% jump in the total number of votes processed on its service in 2022 and, in tandem, a growing engagement in company AGMs.
Lee said: “Providing a new digital capability for this self-service system gives retail investors a greater say in the governance of the companies in which they hold shares and the democratisation of markets.”
In their online account, HL clients can view all upcoming shareholder meetings for the UK and European shares they hold, and can also register to attend shareholder meetings.
Demi Derem, general manager of international investor communication solutions at Broadridge, said retail investors’ ESG requirements have changed, and having a say in how the companies they invest in operate has become a big deal.
“Subsequently, shareholder voting functionality has never been more important.”
Derem added: “We’re proud to be working with Hargreaves Lansdown, to offer their investors an enhanced proxy voting experience. Increasing retail investor participation is part of our ongoing mission to drive greater shareholder participation and improve overall standards around corporate governance.”