More FTSE 350 companies — 158 — received significant shareholder opposition during the annual general meeting season in 2019 than in 2018 when 151 were in that category, according to an analysis published Thursday by the U.K.'s Investment Association of its public register.
The association, which represents U.K.-based money managers that jointly manage £7.7 trillion ($9.9 trillion) in assets, tracks companies that faced dissent from at least a fifth of their investors.
The number of resolutions at FTSE 350 companies stood at 298 in 2019, up from 294 a year earlier.
Still, the number of resolutions as well as the number of companies on the public register has fallen for FTSE small-cap companies to 132 in 2019 from 149 in 2018 and to 67 in 2019 from 75 in 2018, respectively.
The number of resolutions facing opposition from investors increased to 35 in 2019 from 30 in 2018 for FTSE 100 companies and increased to 131 in 2019 from 115 in 2018 for FTSE 250 companies.
More FTSE 250 companies also faced investor resolutions in 2019 at 70 from 55 a year earlier. The number of FTSE 100 companies on the public register facing investor resolutions remained the same in 2019 at 21.
Executive pay and individual director re-election were the main sources of investor concern in 2019, with 76 and 103 companies appearing on the register for such resolutions, respectively.
Furthermore, 39 of all companies appeared on the register for the exact same resolution in both 2018 and 2019, the IA said.
Still, 80% of FTSE 350 companies acknowledged investors' concerns by making a public statement and outlining how they plan to engage with shareholders, up from 55% of companies in 2017, when IA published the register for the first time. Data for 2018 were not available for this category.
"Investment managers are keeping up the pressure on companies to align executive pay with their long-term strategy. With a quarter of FTSE All-Share companies ending up on the register in 2019, investment managers will be paying close attention this year when companies bring their pay policies to the table to see whether they've heeded the high levels of dissent," said Andrew Ninian, IA's director for stewardship and corporate governance, in a news release.