A group of charities and churches, including the United Reformed Church, have joined together to urge investors to vote during the 2012 AGM season on executive remuneration packages that have risen excessively.
With the main part of the 2012 AGM season yet to come, the Daily Telegraph has published a letter which reminds charity and other investors of the shareholder rights they have at their disposal to shape company practice. See here to read the letter.
Andreas Whittam Smith, first church estates commissioner, said: "Until now, charities' contributions to the public debate about the issue of executive remuneration have been fairly muted. However, with the AGM season upon us, the church commissioners and a substantial coalition of other charities wish to put their concerns on the record. They feel that this is the right time for charities to make their feelings on the issue known in accordance with their charitable missions."
Individual organisations within the group rely heavily on the income and capital returns generated by their investment to support beneficiaries and meet charitable objectives. As these investments tend largely to consist of real assets, including equity holdings, the members of the group hold shares in many of the UK's publicly listed companies.
Richard Nunn, convener of the United Reformed Church Investment Committee and chair of the Church Investors Group, said: "The signatories to the letter believe that executive remuneration is rising out of proportion both to the rewards to shareholders and to the perceived benefits to society. We therefore wish to raise awareness of the rights attached to share ownership. We encourage those charities that have not already done so to take steps to ensure that the voting and engagement work carried out on their behalf by asset managers is in keeping with their own standards and objectives."