The start of the year saw the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) publish its ‘Proposed Revision to the UK Stewardship Code’ and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) publish a consultation on proposals to improve shareholder engagement. Both regulators also published a joint discussion paper entitled ‘Building a regulatory framework for effective stewardship’ as they look to hold investors to account more stringently than before.
The original code, which was launched in 2010, met with limited success and in 2016 the FRC was forced to categorise signatories into tiers based on the quality of their Code statements. Notwithstanding this change, the Code has been criticised as being weak and lacking in sanctions, not least by Sir John Kingman who concluded, in his recent review of the FRC, that the Stewardship Code is not effective in practice. With the new code proposing that all signatories be required to make public disclosures about their stewardship activities and their assessment of how effectively they have achieved their stated objectives, efforts are now underway to more clearly differentiate excellence in stewardship.
On Day 2 of this year’s conference, ICSA Policy and Research Director Peter Swabey will moderate a session exploring the key findings of the consultation with Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive, ShareAction and Jennifer Sisson, Chief of Staff at the Financial Reporting Council.
Join Peter, Catherine and Jennifer at 14:50 on 10 July as they consider how the scope of the Code has been broadened to include investment decision making and assets other than listed equities, as well as considerations such as ESG factors. With companies needing to ensure that their claims to engage in stewardship actually live up to the reality, this is one session that you cannot afford to miss.