PensionBee study finds consumers strongly support shareholder resolutions ahead of AGM season

Ffion White

by , PR Manager

02 Apr 2024 /  

02
Apr 2024

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A study by PensionBee reveals a strong belief among pension savers that shareholder resolutions can convey robust messages to management and address areas of concern, ahead of this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) season.

The nationally representative study of 1,000 UK pension savers1 showed a clear preference toward proactive engagement with the companies in which pension funds are invested. According to the findings, over six in ten respondents (61%) - equivalent to 19.4 million UK pension savers2 - believed that voting against the re-election of Directors, such as those with responsibility for areas such as remuneration, recruitment or climate risk - was an effective way to communicate dissatisfaction to companies.

In contrast, only 15% of respondents felt that challenging company management through voting was unnecessary, while approximately 4% advocated for taking no action at all. Additionally, 20% expressed uncertainty about the best course of action.

Shareholders play a crucial role in corporate governance, and their votes hold significant weight in shaping the direction and decisions of companies. PensionBee believes it’s essential for investors to exercise their voting rights effectively to influence positive change and ensure alignment with their long-term pension returns. Key areas of concern include issues around poor management of environmental and social risks, lack of diversity at senior levels, or excessively high executive pay.

By engaging in informed decision-making at shareholder meetings, investors can therefore advocate for initiatives that promote areas including sustainability, transparency, and ethical business practices helping to align sustainable long-term pension returns with collective aspirations for a more equitable and prosperous future.

Clare Reilly, Chief Engagement Officer at PensionBee, commented: “With increasing focus on shareholder engagement, PensionBee’s survey highlights a growing demand among pension savers for strong corporate governance.

“With over six in ten respondents advocating for voting against Directors where a company’s actions can pose risks to the long term profitability and performance of the company, the message is clear: shareholders are eager to wield their influence to drive accountability and effect change.”

Footnotes

  1. The survey results are based on the responses of 1,000 UK residents – aged 18-66 – who are currently contributing into a pension (not including the State Pension). The survey was run in March 2024.

  2. Based on ONS data stating around 31.9 million private pension savers.

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