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Institutional investors support access to ownership details, survey shows

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  • Institutional investors support access to ownership details, survey shows

GLOBAL - Institutional investors have shown "moderate" support for a programme that would give companies access to more detailed ownership information on the record date for a shareholder meeting, according a survey by international consultancy Sodali.

The survey - entitled "Ownership Disclosure by Institutional Investors" - found that 41% of respondents would be willing to participate in the proposed limited disclosure programme, while 32% said they would not participate, and 27% did not respond.

This conservative level of support was deemed sufficient by Sodali head of operations Andrea di Segni to justify a pilot programme during the 2012 annual meeting season.

The survey found that the biggest obstacle to the disclosure of ownership data to issuers is confidentiality of the trading strategy, which was a concern for 55% of respondents, ahead of client privacy (32%) and lack of resources (32%).

But di Segni said concerns surrounding trading -strategy confidentiality should not be a factor in the proposed programme because disclosure would occur only once a year on the annual meeting record date - not often enough to reveal trading patterns or investment strategies.

He said the fact 77% of respondents have a formal policy in place that governs disclosure of their ownership positions showed widespread awareness of the issue and its importance.

Di Segni is in talks with a few of Sodali's corporate clients about participating in a pilot programme.

If the pilot is conducted, the names of the companies will not be publicly disclosed, and the results will be shared only with participants, regulators and professional groups working on improvements in cross-border share voting.

The 10-question survey was conducted during January and February. Out of a selected 90 institutional investors, a total of 22 - 40% of which are based in Europe - responded.

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