Saturday, 23 June 2007

Fund managers get more secretive says TUC

It's that time of the year when the TUC publishes its annual survey of how fund managers vote at company AGMs. There's a bit of a drop in the response rate this year. Not a particularly canny move by fund managers if they want to avoid being forced by the Government to disclose voting records (by doing it voluntarily in their own way).

Anyway here's the release:

Fund managers get more secretive over voting record, says TUC

For the second year running the number of fund managers disclosing their voting record at company AGMs to the annual TUC survey has fallen - this time to less than half - prompting the TUC to call on the government to activate legislation already on the statute book to force fund managers to disclose how they vote.

This year 25 out of the 55 organisations surveyed (45 per cent) responded in full or in part to the TUC's fifth annual survey. This is a fall from 61 per cent last year and 68 per cent in 2005.

The survey is available at and the results will be added to the TUC's searchable database of fund manager voting at later this month.

The results have been published to coincide with the TUC's annual conference for pension fund trustees today (Friday 22 June). Speakers at the conference include TUC Assistant General Secretary Kay Carberry, Minister for State Pensions Reform James Purnell MP, CWU Deputy General Secretary Jeannie Drake and Cass Business School Dean, Richard Gillingwater.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'When government was talking of legislation, fund managers were much more ready to publish their voting record and tell us that a change in the law was not needed. Now that they seem to have judged that the threat has gone away, more than half of fund managers have decided to go back to ticking the secrecy box.

'Yet the government already has the power in the 2006 Companies Act to introduce regulations to force disclosure. It is a relatively easy task for ministers to activate these clauses. It now looks like they will have to.

'It is hard to see the objection to disclosure. The bulk of the votes come from the investments of millions of ordinary employees in their pension fund. All we are saying is that people should be able to find out how the votes that go with their savings are being cast. Many fund managers clearly agree, and deserve credit for co-operating with our survey.'

Fund managers that responded were Co-operative Insurance Society; Fidelity International; Friends Provident/ F&C Investments; Glasgow Investment Managers; Halbis Capital Management (HSBC); Henderson Global Investors; Hermes Pension Management; Insight Investment Management; JP Morgan Fleming Asset Management; Lazard Asset Management; Newton Investment Management; RCM; Schroder Investment Management; and Standard Life Investments.

In addition, the following organisations responded to Section One on voting and engagement records: Axa Rosenburg; GMO UK; Legal and General; Marvin and Palmer Associates; New Smith Asset Management; Origin Asset Management; PIRC; and State Street Global Advisors.

No comments: