More than 100 shareholders of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have called for the creation of a new "Shareholder Committee" at the British bank. This resolution is to help improve corporate governance at RBS, which is 72% owned by taxpayers.
The shareholders are supported and coordinated by ShareSoc and UK Shareholders' Association (UKSA). Both shareholder campaigning organisations said they will deliver the resolution along with the related requisition forms to RBS's London offices on Friday (30 December). The British bank will now be required to put this proposal to a vote at their annual general meeting in May 2017, they added.
UKSA and ShareSoc also said that the resolution was in line with Prime Minister Theresa May's initiative to improve the working methodology of companies. The government's recent Green Paper had also suggested that creating such shareholder committees could help improve corporate governance in companies, they added.
In a statement, the campaigning organisations said the bank was poorly managed and long-term shareholders had lost more than 95% of value of their investment when compared to 2007, when RBS's share price peaked. This was amid poor corporate governance in the bank across several fronts such as in strategy, operations, executive pay and culture.
Giving specific examples, ShareSoc and UKSA pointed out to the large acquisition of ABN Amro for £49bn ($60.17bn) with excessive leverage. This showed that the bank had an excessive focus on short-term rather than long-term sustainability.
They also gave examples of RBS mis-selling mortgage backed securities in the US, Libor fixing and PPI mis-selling, pointing out that RBS was not treating its customers fairly.
Commenting on the resolution, Mark Northway, chairman at ShareSoc said: "One objective is to stop the events that took place at RBS from ever happening again! A dominant CEO; concealing the true financial position of the company from investors; proceeding with a reckless acquisition; and then publishing a rights prospectus which concealed the problems faced by the company. These are not examples of good governance. Shareholders, including individuals, deserve a new approach; one with greater involvement and more effective input from them as ultimate owners."
In response, RBS said the resolution proposal will be checked for meeting certain requirements before being included in the next AGM. "We have not yet received the final draft resolution. Once it has been delivered we will look closely to ensure that it complies with all corporate governance and listing guidelines" an RBS spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.