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AIC releases information to help shareholders vote on platforms

30 July 2018

Information covers both retail and adviser platforms.

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has released on its website new information on how to vote investment company shares held on platforms. The information includes whether investors can vote their shares held on platforms, what investors need to do to vote their shares, how far in advance they need to contact the platform to vote the shares and if there is any cost to the investor.

This shareholder information has been supplied for the AIC by the lang cat which surveyed each platform.

Ian Sayers, Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies said: “In many ways platforms have been good for consumers, providing them with a simple, convenient and cost-effective way to buy and hold investment company shares. However, this is often at the expense of reducing their ability to vote on key issues affecting the company’s future.

“It is very disappointing to see that two platforms (HSBC and BestInvest) do not enable their customers to vote at all.  However, even though many platforms do, the information on how to do this is sometimes hard to find and unclear. We hope the information we are publishing today will not only help to clarify these issues but also encourage some platforms to raise their game.

“We need all platforms to offer a simple, online solution that means that shareholders get the information they need on resolutions affecting the company and can exercise their democratic rights at a click of a button. In the meantime, investors should consider whether and how they can vote their shares as part of their decision over which platform to use.”

Platforms and shareholder voting information

Retail platforms

Platform

Can you vote?

How long does it take?

Is there a cost?

AJBell Youinvest

Yes

As much notice as possible but require at least 5 days.

No

Alliance Trust Savings (ATS)

Yes

Need to have the information to the registrar 48 hours prior to the vote so customers need to ensure they have their intentions with ATS prior to this.

No

Barclays Smart Investor

Yes

Require the instruction 5 working days prior to the meeting for a proxy vote and 7 working days in advance of the meeting if the client would like to attend.

No

BestInvest

No

N/A

N/A

Charles Stanley Direct

Yes

Require the instruction around 5 business days prior to the meeting otherwise there may not be sufficient time to get the vote submitted with the registrar.

No

Fidelity Personal Investing

No but a new solution will be live in a few weeks which will allow investors to vote

Example timings might work as follows - customer notified on 16th of the month, meeting is 28th of the month, vote deadline day is 22nd of the month.

No

Hargreaves Lansdown

Yes

Ask for 5 working days to allow time to bulk votes and process.

No

HSBC

No

N/A

N/A

Interactive Investor

Yes

Broadridge, the platform’s voting and information service, set their own deadlines that a customer has to adhere to in order get their vote processed. 

No

The Share Centre

Yes

Voting is open until 2 days prior to ‘last date to appoint’. This is usually 4 days prior to the meeting.

No

Source: AIC/the lang cat

Adviser and Wealth Manager Platforms

Platform

Can you vote?

How long does it take?

Is there a cost?

AJ Bell Investcentre Yes As much notice as possible but require at least 5 days. No

Alliance Trust Savings (ATS)

Yes

Need to have the information to the registrar 48 hours prior to the vote so customers need to ensure they have their intentions with ATS prior to this.

No

Ascentric

Yes

Anytime between meeting announcement and the absolute latest of 5 working days before the meeting. Voting instructions are normally carried out within 10 working days from receipt.

No

FundsNetwork

No but a new solution will be live in a few weeks which will allow investors to vote

Example timings might work as follows - customer notified on 16th of the month, meeting is 28th of the month, vote deadline day is 22nd of the month.

No

Raymond James

Yes

Normally 5 days’ notice needed but will process on best endeavours basis for less than 5 days.

£30 if at least 5 business days’ notice is given; £50 if there is less than 5 business days’ notice.

Transact

Yes

The time in advance varies from company to company but normally need to know at least 2-3 days in advance of the meeting.

No

Source: AIC/the lang cat

-Ends-

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Notes

  1. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) was founded in 1932 to represent the interests of the investment trust industry – the oldest form of collective investment.  Today, the AIC represents a broad range of closed-ended investment companies, incorporating investment trusts and other closed-ended investment companies and VCTs. The AIC’s members believe that the industry is best served if it is united and speaks with one voice. The AIC’s mission statement is to help members add value for shareholders over the longer term. The AIC has 352 members and the industry has total assets of approximately £183 billion.
  2. Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release does not constitute investment advice or personal recommendation and it is not an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity. You should seek independent financial and, if appropriate, legal advice as to the suitability of any investment decision. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.  The value of investment company shares, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise.  You may not get back the full amount invested and, in some cases, nothing at all.
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