Pension scheme voting taskforce launched

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Pensions minister Guy Opperman has on Tuesday announced a taskforce to reform shareholder voting, to give asset owners choice and control in pooled arrangements.

The Taskforce on Pension Scheme Voting Implementation will be chaired by Simon Howard, CEO of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association. Vice chair is Sarah Wilson from Minerva Analytics. 

It will include representatives from the Association of Member Nominated Trustees, which had pushed the topic up the agenda through research, reports and its Red Line Voting guidelines; further members will be announced.

"The investment chain is very long and at times very tangled. But ultimately you are the end of that chain and when you act, that chain is tighter," said Opperman.

Howard said it was "blindingly obvious" that asset owners' wishes should determine how a manager votes, and that issues often cited as obstacles - technology, a need to speak with one voice, or legal structures - can be overcome, as suggested by a recent Law Commission report.

The taskforce is expected to report back in early 2021.

Opperman also said he will take forward recommendations to establish a central directory of statements of investment principles under the Pensions Regulator.

Simon Howard
Sarah Wilson
Janice Turner
David Weeks
Mike Clark