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Subject: UK Digitisation Task Force - Interim Report

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Sep 21st, 2023
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  1. Dear Sir Douglas,
  2.  
  3. As an individual shareholder, I write about your taskforce’s proposals for the digitisation of the UK shareholder framework.
  4.  
  5. While digitisation is a good thing, a new approach where my shares would have to be transferred to a nominee will take away my direct ownership of shares and associated rights.
  6.  
  7. This approach risks valued fundamental rights, including voting on company proposals, attending, and asking questions at shareholder meetings, taking part in corporate actions, communicating with the company, and receiving direct dividends. There is no guarantee that a nominee provider would offer me those services. If they did, there is likely to be a cost for me where none exist currently. Where costs are rising everywhere, this is unfair.
  8.  
  9. Shareholders should choose if their own name appears on the company’s share register or if a nominee holds our shares. This is a right in other countries including the US, Hong Kong, Canada, France and Australia.
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  11. While getting rid of paper certificates is positive, your proposals must retain the option for investors to hold shares directly and without having to use a nominee. This would safeguard our rights, maintain shareholder engagement, and preserve existing high standards of corporate governance.
  12.  
  13. I look forward to seeing the updated report and hope my concerns, and those of other shareholders, are reflected.
  14.  
  15. Kind regards,
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