Global firms were yesterday warned to expect a more hands-on approach from their British investors, as the National Association of Pension Funds announced a joint venture with US shareholder activists.
At its annual conference in Glasgow, the NAPF - whose members control £600bn of assets - said it would offer voting recommendations on 22,000 companies worldwide through a joint venture with US firm Institutional Shareholder Services.
The company, which will be called Research, Recommendations and Electronic Voting, plans to launch its investment portal next January.
"There has been a noticeable upswing in shareholder activism in recent months," said the NAPF's chief executive, Christine Farnish. "Today's announcement highlights the NAPF's determination to build on its position at the cutting edge of the corporate governance debate."
The NAPF, which has taken a more activist stance on shareholder resolutions in recent months, contributed to the unprecedented rejection of GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier's golden parachute this week, recommending that its members protest by abstaining from the vote.
As well as increasing the number of companies on which UK investors will be able to receive analysis - and recommendations about how to vote on critical shareholder motions - the company will allow electronic voting, making it easier for investors to register a protest without attending a firm's annual meeting.
The NAPF said yesterday that providing pension funds with advice which covers global markets was crucial, because 25% of their assets are in overseas firms.
ISS, set up in 1985 by corporate governance campaigner Bob Monks, advises US investors on how to vote in more than 20,000 shareholder meetings a year. UK fund management firm Hermes owns a 18% share.