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AIC flags platforms that allow investors to vote

12 August 2018

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has published a list of platforms which allow investors to vote their investment company shares.

In a bid to help shareholders understand exactly what their chosen platform allows, the information highlights whether investors can vote on shares, what they need to do to vote their shares, how far in advance they need to contact the platform to vote the shares and whether there is any cost involved.

According to the research, retail platforms AJ Bell Investcentre, Alliance Trust Savings, Barclays Smart Investor, Charles Stanley Direct, Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and The Share Centre all allow shareholders to vote. However, BestInvest and HSBC do not allow shareholders to vote at all, while Fidelity Personal Investing is shortly set to introduce a new solution allowing investors to vote.

The findings showed that none of the platforms charge their customers for this process.

Ian Sayers, chief executive of the Association of Investment Companies, said that while platforms have offered consumers a simple, convenient and cost-effective way to buy and hold investment company shares, it can often be at the expense of reducing their ability to vote on key issues affecting the company’s future.

He said: “It is very disappointing to see that two platforms (HSBC and BestInvest) do not enable their customers to vote at all.  However, even though many platforms do, the information on how to do this is sometimes hard to find and unclear. We hope the information we are publishing today will not only help to clarify these issues but also encourage some platforms to raise their game.

“We need all platforms to offer a simple, online solution that means that shareholders get the information they need on resolutions affecting the company and can exercise their democratic rights at a click of a button. In the meantime, investors should consider whether and how they can vote their shares as part of their decision over which platform to use.”

Meanwhile, adviser and wealth manager platforms Alliance Trust Savings, Ascentric, Raymond James and Transact all allow voting, while FundsNetwork is due to launch a new solution allowing investors to vote over the coming weeks.

Access the lists below:

Voting on consumer platforms

Voting on adviser platforms