The shareholder voting research best practice principles group (BPPG) is to be commended for the final form of the Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research 2014 (the Research Provider Principles) which it published on 5 March 2014.

The Research Provider Principles were developed by representatives of the shareholder voting research industry in response to the report of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on the role of the industry which was published in February 2013.  ESMA was keen to see the industry find solutions to improve transparency and disclosure in order to foster more effective stewardship, robust corporate governance and to ensure efficient markets.  There was a growing perception that those who specialise in reporting on the corporate governance practices of listed companies needed to get their own house in better order and display better corporate governance practices in how they deliver their product.

The BPPG produced draft Research Provider Principles in October 2013.  The consultation exercise on those draft principles elicited good engagement from stakeholders, which now seem to have been taken on board and the final Research Provider Principles are a significant improvement on the October draft.

It is particularly welcome that the BPPG has:

  • reflected a need for the shareholder voting research providers to improve communication with issuers and other stakeholders and to make the services they provide to their investor client more understandable; and
  • accepted the need for research to be proportionately checked against quality and accuracy filters (including, in some circumstances, with the issuer).

We are both hopeful and confident that the application of these Research Provider Principles will improve the quality of the corporate governance debate.

The principles are available at

The BPPG comprises the following members:

By Edward Craft