Shareholder dissent increased 5% in 2019, with 126 FTSE 350 companies receiving significant opposition to resolutions compared with 120 companies in 2018, according to the U.K. Investment Association's 2019 annual general meeting season review.
The Investment Association, which represents U.K. money managers overseeing more than £7 trillion ($8.5 trillion) in assets, said Wednesday that 86 resolutions on director re-election appeared on its public register for 2019 as of July 31, compared with 80 in 2018 and 38 in 2017.
Resolutions aimed at challenging top executives' remuneration packages were 24% of all resolutions that appeared on the public register in 2019, compared with 26% in 2018 and 36% in 2017.
"Shareholders have been very clear they want pension payments for executives to come down to the same level as the rest of the workforce and for diversity on boards to improve. We have seen a clear step-change on both of those fronts during this year's (annual meeting) season, which is welcomed by shareholders. This includes a number of companies and directors that have shown significant leadership by reducing their pension contributions to be aligned with their employees," said Chris Cummings, Investment Association CEO, said in a news release on the review.
The association also said that among FTSE 100 companies, three in 10 have vowed to cut pension payments for executives in response to pressure from shareholders, including 17 companies committing to a policy that directors will be given a pension contribution in line with the majority of the workforce.