THE M&S chair Archie Norman wants digital AGMs and a more streamlined approach to investor communications as part of an effort to bring shareholder capitalism into the digital age.
Norman has written to business secretary Kemi Badenoch on behalf of the ‘share your voice’ campaign, supported by the Quoted Companies Alliance and shareholder lobby groups.
The City grandee wants the requirement for physical AGMs to be ditched in favour of hybrid or digital events which he believes would encourage wider participation by investors.
The letter also calls for improved links between companies and their shareholders who use nominee accounts.
“In the 1980s… people were encouraged to ‘Tell Sid’ about the virtues of shareholding, creating a nation of investors. Today, however, that level of shareholder capitalism would not be possible,” the letter reads.
“The current outdated legislation means that ordinary people who have invested in the UK’s listed businesses struggle to hear from and communicate with them.”
The business department said it would respond in due course and that a digitisation review was already underway.
A Department for Business and Trade spokesperson said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the UK’s competitiveness and how businesses work with their shareholders.
“Last summer the Government launched a Digitisation Taskforce to drive forward the modernisation of the UK’s shareholding framework and is already exploring many of the issues raised by the Share Your Voice campaign.
“We look forward to receiving its recommendations and will continue considering how the Companies Act can better reflect modern ways of working.”
The Mail on Sunday first reported the letter.