Do YOU have a shareholder vote? How to get your say if you hold a stake through a DIY investing platform
Do you have a shareholder vote on your company investments? If you own shares via an online platform, you don’t automatically get a say on important company business because your stock is held on a ‘pooled’ basis.
But most platforms do have systems in place allowing you to vote if you take steps to let them know your wishes beforehand.
Here, Ian Sayers, chief executive of trade body the Association of Investment Companies, rounds up how to do so depending on which platform you use.
Ian Sayers: ‘It is very disappointing to see that two platforms – HSBC and BestInvest – do not enable their customers to vote at all’
In many ways platforms have been good for consumers, providing them with a simple, convenient and cost-effective way to buy and hold shares.
However, this is often at the expense of reducing their ability to vote on key issues affecting the future of companies in which they are invested.
We have therefore placed on our website new information on how investors can vote the shares they hold on platforms. Below is the rundown, compiled for the Association of Investment Companies by financial services consultancy the lang cat, which surveyed each platform.
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.
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 now 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 a 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.
Investing platforms used by consumers
Find fuller details on the AIC website here.
Investing platforms accessed via a financial adviser
Find fuller details here.