The survey, published today reports that 23 out of the 49 funds (45 per cent) surveyed kept their fund manager votes secret. These results are similar to last year’s survey but mark a significant drop from the 68 per cent response rate in 2005. The secrecy defies the government which took a reserve power in the most recent Companies Act to enforce disclosure and the institutional shareholders committee which expects fund managers to ‘comply or explain’ with voluntary disclosure.
TUC says that if the response rate does not improves the government must use its reserve power to force fund managers to disclose their voting records in a standard form. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says: “’There is now a hard core of fund managers who continue to keep their votes secret, despite pressure from the Government, consumer groups and even their own trade bodies. They should remember that this is not their own money, but that of ordinary pension scheme members and other savers. Unless the laggards get on board fast, the Government will need to use its reserve power and make disclosure compulsory.”
Investment management association chief executive Richard Saunders responds:
“The TUC survey finds that three quarters of fund managers responding to it make voting data available publicly. This picture bears out the conclusion of the IMA’s own surveys which show a steady increase in the publication of voting records over the last five years. IMA, along with other investor bodies, is firmly committed to transparency and accountability. The industry has made great strides in this area over the last few years, of which it can be justly proud.”