ICSA has joined a steering group that has been put together to undertake a survey to find out to what extent the Stewardship Code has begun to have an impact on company and investor engagement. Working with the Investor Relations Society, the Quoted Companies Alliance, the Investment Association, the NAPF, Tomorrow’s Company and five institutional investors - Aviva Investors, BlackRock, GO Investment Partners, RPMI Railpen, and USS – in an exercise supported by the Financial Reporting Council, we have asked approximately 1,000 company representatives to what extent the Stewardship Code has improved engagement for companies and what was their overall experience from their engagement with asset owners and asset managers.
The survey findings, which will be supplemented by further qualitative discussion based on the survey, are expected to be completed by June 2015 and will provide an updated assessment by public companies of the health of investor stewardship.
David Styles, Director of Corporate Governance at the Financial Reporting Council commented, ‘Better quality of engagement assists in delivering improved company performance and returns to investors. As reported in our “Developments in Corporate Governance and Stewardship 2014’’ report, we continue to see signs of better engagement with large companies by investment managers. But more needs to be done to ensure that those who sign up to the code commit to its principles. This is why we support the survey which will help us discover more from companies about their experience of engagement, and what best practice looks like’.
Peter Swabey, Policy & Research Director at ICSA added, ‘ICSA is keen to promote active engagement between issuers and their shareholders as not only is this best practice, it is also the only way that shareholders can truly maximise their shareholder rights. ICSA has long supported the principles underpinning the Stewardship Code, having contributed to the FRC consultation on the original code and led the publication of Enhancing Stewardship Dialogue in 2013.’