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UK roundup: LAPFF, Sports Direct, SLI, Ignis AM

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Some 60 UK local authority pension funds are set to vote against the bonus share scheme in sports and leisure retailer Sports Direct.

The company, which will hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) tomorrow, could see around 4.2% of shares awarded solely to vice-chairman and founder Mike Ashley.

The Pension funds argue the company has to yet meet the threshold targets to approve such an award.

Tomorrow’s EGM is the third attempt for the company to get shareholders to approve the remuneration policy.

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Councillor Kieran Quinn, chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), said incentive plans should not be created solely for one individual.

“This arrangement creates a bias in favour of Mr Ashley, as well as the impression he is creating the scheme for himself,” he added.

“The company states that it has performed very well over the year, so Mr Ashley should be adequately compensated through dividends on his shares in the company.”

In other news, the proposed takeover of Ignis Asset Management by Standard Life Investments (SLI) has been completed after receiving regulatory approval.

The £390m (€487m) deal will see Ignis’s ownership transfer from Phoenix Group Holdings to the Edinburgh-based SLI.

Chief executive of SLI, Keith Skeoch, said the main priority post acquisition was to continue delivery of investment performance.

“The acquisition of Ignis is another step in Standard Life Investments’ growth story, reinforcing our strong foundations,” he said.

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