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European Parliament backs stronger rights for shareholders

The European Parliament has voted to give shareholders more powers, including a say on directors' remuneration.16 Mar 2017

Changes to the existing Shareholders' Rights Directive will make it easier for shareholders to exercise their voting rights and for companies to identify their shareholders.

Institutional investors such as pension funds, life insurance companies and asset managers will be required to publish a policy showing how they include shareholder engagement in their investment strategies, or explain why they have chosen not to do so, the Parliament said.

Proxy advisors who provide research and recommendations on how to vote in general meetings to their clients will have to disclose information including their main sources and the methodologies applied in developing their advice.

Rapporteur Sergio Gaetano Cofferati said: "The agreement on the Shareholders' Rights Directive approved today is very positive. The measures agreed upon will help to steer investments towards a more long-term oriented approach and will ensure more transparency for listed companies and investors."

The resolution was passed by 646 votes to 39, with 13 abstentions. The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers.

The EU's committee of permanent representatives (COREPER) endorsed the agreement in December 2016.

Member states will have 24 months from the date of entry into force of the directive to bring the new rules into force.