Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Voting disclosure - good enough for India

It's been a (short) while since I moaned about the lack of mandatory public disclosure of shareholder voting records in the UK. You will recall that the fund management industry (principally) has managed to convince people that this is an admin nightmare/waste of money/bad idea generally.

Well, today I learned that last year India made it mandatory for mutual funds to publish not only their voting policies, but also how votes have been exercised. It looks like this is closely modeled on the US approach. The relevant circular is here. I know about this because a journo has just been in touch to ask for some comment on the voting patterns emerging. So the data is starting to generate media interest.

The UK - which has a voluntary regime under which the majority disclose little or no useful data - now has less transparency than India when it comes to the exercise of ownership. The asset manager lobby in the UK has done a brilliant job of frustrating reform in this area so far, surely now it's time to exercise that reserve power in the Companies Act?

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