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Unilever bows to fund manager pressure to stay in the UK

Unilever has abandoned controversial plans to move its headquarters overseas after pressure from household names in the fund management industry.

Columbia Threadneedle, Schroders , Legal & General, M&G, Aviva Investors, Lindsell Train and Brewin Dolphin were just some of the major shareholders to have lined up against the proposals, which were due to be voted on later this month.

Estimates were that, combined, the managers who would have voted against the plan – which would have seen Unilever become a single entity incorporated in the Netherlands, ending its joint Anglo-Dutch structure – have a more than 10 per cent stake in the household goods giant.

In an announcement to the stock exchange this morning, the firm said that it had drawn up the proposal “to unlock value for our shareholders by creating a stronger, simpler and more competitive Unilever”.

“We have had an extensive period of engagement with shareholders and have received widespread support for the principle behind simplification,” the statement says. “However, we recognise that the proposal has not received support from a significant group of shareholders and therefore consider it appropriate to withdraw.”

An Investment Association spokesman says: “The feedback from many of our members has been that there was no compelling reason for shareholders to accept the proposed simplification in this form. They did not believe it would be in the long-term interests of their clients, and would have resulted in many shareholders being forced to sell their shares.

“We welcome the fact that Unilever has listened to the feedback from their shareholders and not pushed ahead with their plans. We look forward to engaging with the company on their future plans.”



FCA: Our job is not to please everyone on DB transfers

FCA policy director David Geale says the watchdog’s role is not to “please everyone” but to ensure consumers get suitable advice for defined benefit transfers. In its policy statement on transfers published today, the regulator stops short of a contingent charging ban and raises the qualification level for pension transfer specialists. The statement says opinions were […]


Almary Green confirms merger with Norwich IFA Smith & Pinching

Almary Green, the advice firm led by Carl Lamb, has confirmed a merger with Smith and Pinching Financial Services, Money Marketing can reveal. In September Money Marketing reported Almary Green staff visited the Smith and Pinching offices, and there were discussions around a merged firm being floated on AIM. At that time the Norwich-based firms confirmed […]

Phil Wickenden: Doing the maths on the future of IHT

The Chancellor has indicated that IHT needs simplifying but what would this mean for tax planning? There are plenty of things in this world that people don’t understand because, hey, the world is a confusing place. But we can always take solace in the fact that there are some really simple concepts and ideas out there that […]

What is a discounted gift trust?

Helen O’Hagan, technical manager at Prudential, has produced a third article in the trust series range exploring the discounted gift trust (DGT). These can take different forms, but in this article she looks at a ‘standard’ discounted gift trust and will cover: W – why use a discounted gift trust H – how to use […]

Current multi asset positioning

2018 has brought particular challenges for the global economic backdrop, providing the potential for greater than usual volatility over the summer. Nersen Pillay, Investment Director explains that this is not necessarily a bad thing for active managers, sharing the importance of diversification and tactical asset allocation in weathering these conditions. Read the article here Past […]


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