The number of firms facing shareholder rebellions increased by a quarter in the 2018 AGM season, data from the Investment Association's (IA) public register reveals.
In total, 237 individual resolutions were added to the public register, which was launched last August to show examples of significant shareholder opposition at FTSE All-Share companies.
This year's data also revealed 29 repeat offenders who appeared on the public register for the same resolution as last year, with 35 resolutions in total.
Opposition to individual director re-elections more than doubled from 38 resolutions to 80, while FTSE 250 firms saw the largest rise, where rebellions more than doubled with 37 resolutions compared to just 18 last year.
Meanwhile, executive pay declined overall as an issue in the FTSE All-Share, with the total number of remuneration resolutions dropping marginally from 68 to 61. Of these, 18 pay resolutions attracted over 20% shareholder dissent among FTSE 100 companies, compared to 9% last year.
The IA's research - which recorded behaviour from January to July - found 120 FTSE All-Share companies were added to the register, compared with 110 companies in the same period last year. FTSE 100 companies nearly doubled because of pay resolutions - up from 8 in 2017 to 15 this year.
NEST head of responsible investment Diandra Soobiah said it was the master trust's duty to vote for or against resolutions in members' best interests.
"This means we're not afraid of holding companies to account and voting against their decisions if we think they won't help deliver sustainable long-term profits," she said. "That this is why further evidence of executive pay spiralling away from ordinary workers' wages should worry us all."
She added this undermined shareholder value and "ultimately hurts pension savers".
"In the interests of millions of UK pension savers, we'd like to see UK listed companies adopting the Living Wage across their workforce and showing more restraint on top level pay."
The public register includes all resolutions which have been withdrawn, which could be for a variety of reasons including to stem shareholder concern or due to more practical circumstances such as the retirement of an executive director.
ShareAction said it was "curious" there were 29 repeat offenders, and urged investors to follow up resolutions with "rigorous engagement".
"We would also ask how the largest auto-enrolment providers have voted the money of their low/middle-income members who care a great deal about high pay," a spokesperson continued. "Where they diverge from the 20% or more, we urge them to publish rationales for doing so, but note that outsourcing all voting to an asset manager as a rationale is insufficient."
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