Forty asset management groups could be removed from the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Stewardship Code if they fail to improve their compliance statements.

The FRC today published a list of signatories to its Stewardship Code and ranked asset managers in three ‘tiers’.

Those in the third (bottom) tier may be removed from the list of they fail to improve the quality of their statements, the FRC said.

In a statement, the FRC said: “Asset managers who have not achieved at least Tier-2 status after six months will be removed from the list of signatories, as their reporting does not demonstrate commitment to the objectives of the Code. The FRC welcomes contact from signatories, particularly those in Tier 3, to discuss improvements to reporting.

“Signatories to the Code have been tiered according to the quality of the reporting in their statements based on the seven principles of the Code and the supporting guidance.”

The Stewardship Code is a voluntary set of principles designed to encourage asset managers and other investors to engage with the companies in which they invest and exercise voting rights.

Signatories are expected to report regularly on their voting activity.

Among the 40 names in Tier 3 are Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman and Brewin Dolphin.

Nestlé Capital Management – which manages assets for Nestlé’s pension funds – is in the second tier*.

The FRC has not made any move to remove any company from the signatories list.

The council said it would “periodically” reassess the quality of reporting.

Of the nearly 300 firms signed up to the Code – including asset managers, asset owners and consultants – 120 are in the top tier.

This is three times the number in the top tier when the FRC began the Code, and it accounts for nearly 90% of assets managed by Investment Association members.

Stephen Haddrill, chief executive at the FRC, said: “Constructive engagement between investors and companies is vital for the long-term success of our economy. Investors play a crucial role in encouraging companies to think more about their long-term strategy.

“Reporting against the Stewardship Code is not a box-ticking exercise, and signatories were encouraged to provide a clear description of their approach to stewardship, with explanations for non-compliance where appropriate.

“We will be looking for continuous improvement from Code signatories, but we are pleased with the response to this exercise, and many signatories have reaffirmed their commitment to quality, transparent reporting and stewardship.”

The FRC initially announced plans to rank asset managers and asset owners in December 2015.

* Note: The FRC initially reported Nestlé as being in the third tier – it is actually in the second.