UK - The government should require institutional investors’ voting to be “a matter of public record” says Paul Myners, author of a 2001 report on institutional investment.
Speaking at a conference organised by the National Association of Pension Funds, Myners stressed the importance of transparency and effective communication with scheme members.
He encouraged trustees to make their votes count at annual general meetings and making their voting public.
“It is your share and you must ensure that your votes are according_to your wishes and best interest,” he said, adding institutional investors needed to “push themselves harder to be more transparent”.
Myners also stated in a newspaper article today that he welcomed the demise of amateurism in pension fund management.
Myners, chairman of retailer Marks & Spencer and former chairman at asset manager Gartmore, also addressed stock lending at the meeting. He said that before authorizing share lending trustees must remember they also sign away their voting rights.
“Institutional investors can lend but in a capable fashion,” he said, calling on trustees to consider whether the borrower would use the acquired voting right against the scheme’s best interests.
He also spoke in favour of a combined investors code which would cover behaviour and responsibilities.
Myners also said he thought it right to pay specialist trustees to ensure the best possible service, although added the generalist trustee should retain influence.
Former NAPF chairman Alan Pickering supported the idea of specialist trustees delegated by generalist trustees.