Friday, 17 April 2009

Hang on a second… more on voting disclosure

Last week I had a rant about voting disclosure. As I said I have an interest in this as I have been pushing this issue for several years. Today two things struck me:

1. In June 2007 the Institutional Shareholders Committee (ISC) issued this guidance (PDF), stating that investors should either comply (make voting disclosures of one form another) or explain why not. I found lots of fund managers that did not disclose, but can’t think of any that ‘explain’ why not. The guidance is nearly 2 years old now, so plenty of time for managers to put even a boilerplate statement on their website. They don’t bother.

2. Look at the last page of the ISC’s press release (PDF) on the disclosure guidance. Ed Balls asked them to produce a report on its effectiveness in Autumn 2008, and annual statistics on compliance. I can’t see anything on the ISC website and I’m not aware of anything being produced - and I know this area pretty well. It looks like they didn’t do anything.

As I wrote last week, I think we can safely conclude that the voluntary regime has failed. Fund managers who don’t disclose don’t follow the ISC’s guidance and explain why, the ISC doesn’t seem to have fulfilled its part of the deal by producing a report or statistics, and, most importantly, the net result is that you still can’t get good data on fund manager voting at the banks.

Fund managers have been given plenty of time to address this issue, and they’ve repeatedly dragged their feet. Let’s use that reserve power

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