Voting at UK listed public companies—process and participants
Voting at UK listed public companies—process and participants

The following Corporate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Voting at UK listed public companies—process and participants
  • Ownership and voting at the modern listed public company
  • The role of the custodian banks
  • Key participants in the voting process
  • Voting—the law
  • Public companies
  • Traded companies
  • Listed companies
  • Voting—codes, policies and guidelines
  • Specimen timetable
  • more

Ownership and voting at the modern listed public company

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK stock market was worth approximately £2.04 trillion at the end of 2016. The ONS breaks down ownership of the market as follows:

  1. 'rest of the world': 53.9%

  2. UK individuals: 12.3%

  3. unit trusts: 9.5%

  4. other financial institutions: 8.1%

  5. insurance companies: 4.9%, and

  6. pension funds: 3%

Other shareholders included:

  1. investment trusts: 2.1%

  2. charities, churches, etc: 1%

  3. private non-financial companies: 2.2%

  4. public sector: 1.1%, and

  5. banks: 1.8%

The ONS observed that the majority of shares in terms of value are:

'held in multiple-ownership pooled accounts, where the beneficial owner is not held centrally and must be established by means of a Companies Act 2006 Section 793 request. These accounted for a large portion of the total holdings by value (62.5%) at the end of 2016...''

Modern listed companies increasingly tend to exhibit the following characteristics:

  1. a large, fragmented and international shareholder base dominated by institutional investors

  2. ownership may shift constantly; determining who owns what at any given point is likely to be further complicated by the practice of stock lending

  3. paper shares have largely been replaced by ‘dematerialised’ and ‘intermediated’ accounts:

    1. nearly 90% of all UK listed shares are recorded on the CREST electronic settlement system, and

    2. on most UK share registers the majority of the issued