Good governance is at the heart of a well-run business, especially one that aspires to the highest ESG standards. That includes treating all investors the same way. This is not simply an ethical exercise as there are tangible benefits from being inclusive. Companies who are transparent and fair with potential and existing shareholders benefit from a broader shareholder register, greater shareholder support and, especially for smaller companies, better secondary liquidity.
Too few companies realise that individual investors directly own a very significant part of the overall UK equity market: 13.5%, worth over £250bn. The proportion is materially higher for smaller companies: 25.1% of those listed on AIM. If we focus only on UK holders, individual investor holdings are 29.9% overall and 48.5% of AIM companies. (ONS data 2018)