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Governance

PLSA: Shareholder dissent at FTSE 350 companies hits 5-year high in 2018

Shareholder dissent at FTSE 350 companies was at a five-year high in 2018, increasing more than 25% in comparison to the previous year, according to the U.K. Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

There were 148 annual general meeting resolutions across 82 companies in 2018, up from 117 AGM resolutions at 73 different companies a year earlier. FTSE 100 remuneration-related votes tripled since 2017, the PLSA said.

PLSA, the trade body for U.K. retirement plans and their participants, in its AGM voting review published Tuesday, found that executive pay and directors' election were key causes of "significant dissent" in 2018. PLSA classifies dissent levels of more than 20% as "significant." Shareholders also became more vocal about directors holding multiple appointments, PLSA said.

"Pension schemes hold key stakes in FTSE 350 companies, and it's right that they use their influence as owners to encourage companies to behave responsibly. Issues like executive pay and overboarding are important for investors and, although there is no room for complacency, it's good to see this increasingly reflected in the findings," said Caroline Escott, PLSA's policy lead, investment and stewardship, in a news release. Ms. Escott couldn't be reached for further comment.