Yesterday was the deadline for responses to the Digitisation Taskforce interim report. The Taskforce has published a series of recommendations for the government, and is seeking feedback on a number of key questions ahead of the publication of a final report.
Today, interactive investor, the UK’s second-largest direct platform for private investors, outlines its view on the interim report.
Richard Wilson, chief executive, interactive investor, says: “We fully support proposed legislation to stop the issuance of new paper share certificates, while better facilitating the rights associated with direct share ownership, including voting and AGM attendance.
“Shareholder democracy and engagement shouldn’t be inhibited by red tape or time-consuming bureaucracy – especially in today’s world where technology provides simple, time-saving solutions.
“If we get this right, not only is this long-awaited modernisation going to help give private investors the seat at the table they deserve, it will also prove vital for keeping the UK competitive; helping it retain its place as a global leader in investment.”
A cautionary note
Richard Wilson adds: “But while the taskforce observes the 'increasing access to expression of shareholder rights through investment platforms, wealth managers and brokers', there is not enough market intelligence to suggest a broad movement, even if pressure has increased on the industry.
“For our own part, progress on shareholder democracy at ii has been hard won and is an ongoing commitment, with in-app voting this summer moving the dial further. And we continue to call on UK PLC to play its part and embed plain English in shareholder communications.
Fair say and fair access
Richard Wilson continues: “We are also still keenly awaiting more news on pre-emption rights. The disapplication of pre-emption rights has become so normalised and commonplace that many shareholders don’t even think about it anymore, yet it has real implications, and Mark Austin put forward some interesting ideas around reform of the Pre Emption Group.
“And while we wait to hear more on fair retail access to IPO and secondary issuance, we continue to push for a quota system. Suggestions that private investors are instead given ‘due regard’ in these circumstances is pure lip service.
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