Alliance Trust Faces More Conflict as ShareSoc Starts Campaign

Alliance Trust Plc may face further conflict from investors after a U.K. shareholders’ lobby group said it would continue to press for changes at the Scottish money manager.

Sharesoc, which has about 3,000 members, said Tuesday that it had been approached by “a number” of the trust’s private investors to start a campaign after last month’s annual general meeting in Dundee, Scotland.

“Many investors still have concerns about the strategy of the company and about some aspects of its operations,” ShareSoc said in a statement. “A shareholder action group has, therefore, been launched.”

ShareSoc’s deputy chairman, Roger Lawson, stood up at the AGM and asked whether Chairman Karin Forseke had considered resigning after the firm revealed that its six-week battle against hedge fund Elliott Advisors cost it 3 million pounds ($4.7 million). All resolutions put to the meeting, including the re-election of Forseke, were approved by investors.

Forseke and Chief Executive Officer Katherine Garrett-Cox, who Monday night was named the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year, struck a last-minute compromise with Elliott to name two of the hedge fund’s three nominees to the board.

Sharesoc favors the sale of Alliance Trust Savings, abandoning the management of third-party funds and potentially outsourcing investments to another asset manager.

“Alliance Trust went through a period of intense engagement with all shareholders ahead of the AGM and received a large amount of diverse feedback,” the company said in a statement. “The board is currently analyzing that feedback and recognizes the need to maintain high levels of engagement with all investors.”

Elliott, which owns 12 percent of Alliance Trust, withdrew all three resolutions to expand the board before the AGM and agreed not to “seek to agitate” until after the 2016 shareholder meeting.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE