UK - F&C Investments opposed or abstained on management recommendations in 18% of cases in 2006 - an increase against the 14% it reported for 2005.

Pay-related votes were the area in which it was frequently unable to support management - the fund manager voted against management in 12% and abstained in 15% of cases, compared to 17% and 14% in 2005.

Karina Litvack, head of governance and sustainable investment at F&C, said: "The sustained high level of opposition on executive pay reflects serious concerns about remuneration policies in key markets, particularly France, Germany and the US, where shareholder dialogue on pay is not an established practice."

But failure to support management in the UK was lower than in any other key market. The level of votes against fell from 13% to 8% in 2006.

"This large reflects the growing - and welcome - trend for UK companies to consult with their shareholders on remuneration issues ahead of a formal vote," Litvack said.

F&C also welcomed last week's announcement by insurance group AFLAC that it will become the first US company to voluntarily put its pay policies up for shareholder approval.

The London based fund manager believes that greater disclosure, listing requirements and the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act will be key voting topics for 2007. Others are set to include economic patriotism, performance targets and remuneration.

F&C's voting pattern in 2006 reflected its increasing focus on emerging markets. Voting activity sharply rose in India, Brazil and Taiwan, while voting levels in developed markets remained steady. 

The analysis of the voting on over 30,000 management and shareholder resolutions across 50 countries worldwide was published in F&C's fifth Annual Voting & Governance Report today. F&C is one of only a handful of UK domiciled fund mangers to publish its voting record, and the only one to do so on its entire portfolio.