View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a754408
Hargreaves slammed over shareholder voting fees
by Elsa Buchanan on Jun 03, 2014 at 11:02
Hargreaves Lansdown has been slammed by shareholders after the stockbroker introduced charges for clients who want to vote at annual general meetings (AGMs).
Hargreaves, led by Ian Gorham, has decided to apply a £10 fee plus VAT to any individual shareholder who wants to attend or vote at an AGM, rights issue or other shareholder ballots.
This is the first time the charge has been introduced as the service used to be free.
Catherine Howarth, who heads the campaign group Share Action, confirmed ShareAction had been contacted spontaneously by Hargreaves' clients, angered at the new fee.
‘Small investors, who used to be the lifeblood of the shareholder register of this company, have been more and more squeezed to the margins and now are even been charged to cast their votes.’
‘This is a new policy and we hope that Hargreaves Lansdown will reverse it rapidly as a result of the customers’ pressure.’
Tom McPhail, Hargeaves' head of pensions research told Wealth Manager the stockbroker was 'not wedded' to the charges.
'We've applied it because it's a proportionate charge to cover the administration cost of obtaining our clients' views and passing those on to the company involved.'
McPhail explained the platform was 'actively' looking at the adoption of an electronic process, which would allow the firm to review those costs.
'If we can find ways to reduce the cost of administrating this service using techonolgy, then that creates some scope to potentially reduce or eliminate the charge.'
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