Monday, 18 June 2007

TUC launches online shareholder voting database

TUC press note -

How fund managers vote... at a glance

Savers and pension fund managers can now find out how the fund managers who look after their savings are casting their votes in controversial decisions at company AGMs, thanks to Open Vote, a new searchable database available on the TUC website (at

The TUC has fought a long campaign to get fund managers to publish their voting records. The TUC first asked managers in an annual survey how they cast their votes in 2002. After initial widespread resistance, other than from a few progressive managers, response rates rose to more than half in 2005 but dropped back again last year.

The online database has been launched in the run up to the TUC’s annual conference for pension fund trustees on 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. Workshops will include DWP Deregulatory review, Past deficits, Personal accounts and existing schemes, Private equity, Pension protection funds and Shareholder voting.

The results of the most recent survey of fund managers will be published at the conference. Users of the database can look at how all managers voted on a particular issue, or follow the voting record of particular funds managers.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Fund managers are entitled to use the votes that go with the shares they hold, but they should never forget that the ultimate owners are the millions of pension fund and other investment fund members. They have a right to know how their ownership rights are being exercised.

“Yet astonishingly some fund managers still refuse to be open and transparent about their voting record. Ministers hoped that those fund managers who pioneered transparency and disclosure would be followed by the more reluctant, but early signs from this year’s survey suggests that this is likely to be a vain hope.

“With the pressure mounting on private equity to disclose more, fund managers should recognise the writing on the wall and ministers must recognise that appeals for good behaviour are not working. Trustees should demand full disclosure from their fund managers.”

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