TUC has called on the Government to activate legislation that will force fund managers to disclose how they vote at company AGMs, following over half of managers not revealing voting methods, in the TUC annual survey.
Only 45 per cent of the organisations surveyed this year responded in full or in part to the TUC’s survey, a drop from 61 per cent last year and 68 per cent in 2005.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says when the Government was considering enforcing disclosure legislation, fund managers were much more ready to publish their voting record and insistent that a change in the law was not needed.
She says: “Now that they seem to have judged that the threat has gone away, more than half of fund managers have decided to go back to ticking the secrecy box.
“Yet the government already has the power in the 2006 Companies Act to introduce regulations to force disclosure. It is a relatively easy task for ministers to activate these clauses. It now looks like they will have to.”
But Investment Management Association chief executive Richard Saunders says the TUC is “promoting myths” and investment managers have become steadily more transparent over the last four years.
He says: “Disclosure to clients is universal and public disclosure is continuing to increase. The voluntary approach is working.
“Our own annual survey into fund managers’ engagement, due to be published shortly, shows that in 2006 16 fund managers, holding over £340bn worth of shares in UK companies, made details of how they voted public by putting them on their website – an increase of over 100 per cent from two years ago.”