Recommendations made to increase success of UK’s Stewardship Code

A new report has called for the industry to go beyond the minimum set out in the UK Stewardship Code in a transition from “compliance to excellence”.

The paper by Standard Life Investments and Tomorrow’s Company sets out a range of measures aimed at stimulating change and building on the momentum already achieved by the Stewardship Code.

The report, Building the Momentum for Effective Investor Stewardship, is a result of a discussion amongst the investment chain, identifying a number of barriers to better investor stewardship.

Recommendations include providing a better definition of the meaning of stewardship within the code, simplifying and strengthening the criteria for assessing investor stewardship, and to an internal review by the investing consulting industry into its own contribution to the advancement of stewardship.

Founder director of Tomorrow’s Company Mark Goyder said the aim of the UK Stewardship Code is to promote the long term success of companies.

“We believe the recommendations taken as a whole will contribute significantly to achieving this objective,” he said.

The study identified an uneven understanding of stewardship and its importance throughout the stewardship chain.

Other issues included limitations in the view that many investment consultants have of their role, and the close of defined benefit schemes resulting in the dispersal of decision-making to millions of individuals.

Global head of governance and stewardship at Standard Life Investments Guy Jubb said that despite being part of “daily parlance”, stewardship is still not at the heart of relationships between those in the stewardship chain.

“We firmly believe that this has to change and that every player in the stewardship chain – asset owners, investment advisors and investment managers – should play their part to promote the success of companies and deliver long-term prosperity,” Jubb said.

“The recommendations in the report are designed to ensure that all those involved in the stewardship chain focus on the creation of value by companies which will in turn help enhance portfolio returns and deliver value to the ultimate clients and beneficiaries.”

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