Interactive Investor

Kalifa Review: a threat to shareholder rights while women ‘left out’

26th February 2021 11:44

Jemma Jackson from interactive investor

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interactive investor CEO Richard Wilson comments on the review of UK fintech.

  • Distorted rights distort governance and accountability

Commenting on the Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, Richard Wilson, CEO, interactive investor, the UK’s second-largest DIY investment platform and number one flat-fee provider, says: “We welcome the Kalifa Review’s ambitions to reduce regulation and red tape for growth companies, so that the UK not only keeps its seat at the table as a fintech hub, but builds on it as a world leader. We are delighted to see Manchester and Leeds among the regional clusters.

“But we are also firm believers in the integrity of UK standards and shareholder rights, and we have serious reservations about some of the proposals. There are better ways to be a world leader, and doing the right thing is number one. Shareholder rights have already taken a beating over the last 12 months, with pre-emption rights all too easily waved away, and IPOs continuing to ignore retail investors. Dual-class structures, as mooted in this review, with differential voting rights, would erode shareholder rights further, and distorted rights distort governance and accountability. Founders of companies must not be allowed to have their cake and eat it.

“Today’s report mentions ‘with concern’ the diversity and inclusivity challenges in the sector. But it is little more than a footnote. While the nascent culture of fintechs means they are less encumbered by historic biases, we need to ensure that further growth does not come with a loss of diversity - which is bad for society, business and consumers.  And as fintech companies grapple with their gender pay gap figures, and coming out days before International Women’s Day, we are genuinely shocked to see that women, and how we might attract more of them into senior technology roles, are not mentioned.”

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