Friday, 29 April 2011

That Hammerson vote

The defeat for Hammerson yesterday on the resolution seeking authority to call meetings with 14 days notice has passed without comment, as far as I can see. This is a bit frustrating for a couple of reasons.

First, it tells you a lot about media coverage of corporate governance issues - if it's not pay, it's not that interesting. Companies are getting quite a lot of media exposure for votes against their remuneration reports which, while above average, aren't that big. Another company actually loses the vote on a resolution and it passes without comment. It's not like it's hidden, you can't avoid it if you read the RNS statement. But presumably, even though it's a defeat (and a vote of >25% against), it doesn't sound that interesting. I appreciate it sounds a bit technical, but this result means that Hammerson has been prevented by its owners from doing something, whereas even being defeated on a rem report vote doesn't oblige a company to do anything (watch what EasyJet does in response to its defeat this year).

Which brings me on to point two. I think there IS an interesting story in this vote. I suspect that it has been driven by investors following the recommendations of one of the large US proxy advisors. If so this is a story about the changing nature of share ownership. By that I mean both the geographical nature of ownership (I reckon US investors represent a big chunk of that oppose vote) and the mechanistic way that the rights of ownership (votes) are exercised by some investors.

Of course I could be wrong, there are some big holders in Hammerson who could have voted against because they felt disenfranchised. But unless someone digs into this result we won't know.

1 comment:

Rory said...

I completely agree with what you're saying. Labour needs ot harnass the market to bring about fairness and support those who need help. I'm a student whose just started up a Labour blog, would be great if you could have a quick look