The Emperor’s New Code? Time to Re-Evaluate the Nature of Stewardship Engagement Under the UK’s Stewardship Code

44 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021 Last revised: 23 Mar 2021

See all articles by Bobby V. Reddy

Bobby V. Reddy

Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

Date Written: January 25, 2021

Abstract

John Kingman’s review of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) doubted the effectiveness of the UK’s Stewardship Code in encouraging informed and engaged stewardship by institutional investors of the companies in which they invest (issuers). Accordingly, the FRC published the Stewardship Code in 2020 in a final opportunity to prove its effectiveness and relevance, and, in particular, enhance issuer-specific engagement by institutional investors. The up-date has enhanced the reach and substance of the code. However, the legal, regulatory, contractual and competitive environment in which institutional investors exist will constantly forestall soft-law attempts to foster greater issuer-specific engagement, a point perhaps tacitly acknowledged by the 2020 Stewardship Code with its wider scope. Instead, in relation to engagement, stewardship disclosure should focus on the types of engagement that institutional investors are motivated to exercise in practice, such as engagement in response to hedge fund activism, and engagement on systemic risks.

Keywords: Stewardship, Corporate Governance, Institutional Investors, Capital Markets, ESG, Hedge Funds, Passive Investment

JEL Classification: G30, G32, G4, G38, K22

Suggested Citation

Reddy, Bobby, The Emperor’s New Code? Time to Re-Evaluate the Nature of Stewardship Engagement Under the UK’s Stewardship Code (January 25, 2021). The Modern Law Review Forthcoming, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 10/2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3773156 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3773156

Bobby Reddy (Contact Author)

Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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