It’s Getting More Difficult to Vote

It’s certainly getting more difficult to vote of late, and I am not talking about voting at General Elections but just for resolutions at the General Meetings of companies we own. This seems to be a particular problem with Capita Registrars. Here’s some examples:

  1. Whitbread: As a personal crest member, I am on the register and expect to be sent an annual report and proxy voting form (and at least the latter on paper). But no longer it seems. Whitbread only sent me a single page letter advising me that the Annual Report and AGM Notice were available on-line and I could vote on-line. No paper Annual Report when I had not opted to not receive it. So I phone them up to ask for a paper copy and a proxy voting form. They (twice) sent me the previous year’s annual report by mistake and no voting form until reminded.
  2. National Grid. Similarly I only received a single page letter. So I tried to vote on-line. Even though the instructions were unclear, after speaking to Capita on the phone, they could not advise me how to get it to work. Simply rejected my ID. They seem to have a technical problem and clearly the system has not been adequately tested.

Is it not ridiculous that one should have such difficulties with voting, getting a notice of the meeting or an Annual Report? This is another example of how shareholder democracy is being undermined.

I will be raising these issues at the AGMs of these companies. But it is really annoying to have to waste time on such matters. If everyone on the register (or in a beneficial holding) was sent a paper proxy voting form, that would be one simple solution and should be mandated in law.

Roger Lawson

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One thought on “It’s Getting More Difficult to Vote

  1. Well said, Roger! There do seem to be problems with the electronic systems that the registrars provide, for those of us with CREST accounts. Many of the facilities, such as setting communication preferences, and dividend payment preferences are not available to CREST holders. It is ironic that those facilities do seem to be available to certificated holders. I think we will need to tackle the registrars on this. I have raised it at previous meetings with them, but never got a satisfactory answer. My understanding/recollection was that there were legal/technical issues around CREST account holders (possibly to do with the CREST sponsorship concept) and that, given the relatively small population of CREST sponsored account holders, the registrars were unwilling to put effort into getting around these issues.

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