DO YOU have a vote of the shareholders? IAN SAYERS on how to exercise your rights

Ian Sayers:

DO YOU have a vote of the shareholders? How to get your opinion if you have a stake through a DIY investment platform

Ian Sayers for this is money

Do you have a vote of the shareholders on the investments of your company? If you own shares through an online platform, you do not automatically have a voice in the company's important business because your shares are held in a "bundle".

But most platforms have systems that allow you to vote if you take steps to notify them in advance.

Here, Ian Sayers, executive director of the Association of Investment Companies, rounds out how to do it depending on the platform he uses.

Ian Sayers: "It's very disappointing to see that two platforms, HSBC and BestInvest, do not allow their customers to vote at all."

In many ways, the platforms have been good for consumers, providing them with a simple, convenient and cost-effective way to buy and hold stocks.

However, this is often at the cost of reducing their ability to vote on key issues that affect the future of the companies in which they invest.

Therefore, we have placed on our website new information on how investors can vote the shares they own on the platforms. Below is the summary, compiled for the Association of Investment Companies by the financial services consultancy the lang cat, which surveyed each platform.

The information includes whether investors can vote their shares held on platforms, what investors should do to vote their shares, how far in advance they should contact the platform to vote the shares and if there is any cost to the investor.

Free investment guides

It is very disappointing to see that two platforms, HSBC and BestInvest, do not allow their customers to vote at all.

However, even though many platforms do, information on how to do this is sometimes hard to find and unclear.

We hope that the information we are publishing now will not only help clarify these problems but also encourage some platforms to raise their game.

We need all platforms to offer a simple and online solution that means that shareholders get the information they need about resolutions that affect a company and can exercise their democratic rights with a single click.

Meanwhile, investors should consider whether they can vote on their shares and how they can do so, as part of their decision on which platform to use.

Investment platforms used by consumers

Find more complete details on the AIC website here.

Investment platforms accessed through a financial advisor

Find more complete details here.

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