The Blog

A Pioneering Dialogue between UK Retail Investors and Listed Companies

Oct 19, 2023 | External Publications, News

First published on Global Banking & Finance

The symbiotic relationship between shareholders and companies is often ignored, but a new revolutionary social venture, The Engagement Appeal (TEA), has launched to bring together the 35 million retail investors and 2,100 listed companies in the UK. The aim is to harness the collective influence of retail investors to stride towards inclusive investor relations and fostering substantial societal and environmental benefits.

Harnessing the Potent Power of £261 Billion

UK retail investors hold over £261 billion of UK shares, but many don’t realise their potential influence over market trends and corporate decisions. A gap prevails in the inclusive engagement of these investors and the decision-making processes within business. With 23 million individual shareholders in the UK, accounting for 12% of all shares listed on the London Stock Exchange, TEA believes a structural revamp in investor-company relations is imperative, particularly for the next generation – Gen Z investors.

Democratizing Investment through ‘Take Time for TEA’

Sheryl Cuisia, CEO and Founder of TEA is calling on UK listed companies to engage in a holistic approach towards retail investor engagement.  “We are championing financial inclusion and literacy for all.  To do this companies need to view retail investors in a whole new way, particularly Gen Z. By viewing today’s consumers as tomorrow’s investors, we emphasise the significance of individual participation in the UK’s financial markets. Our mission is not merely about engagement but ‘edutainment’ – making learning engaging and inclusive.”

The initiative puts transparency and equality at its centre and seeks to ensure retail voices are acknowledged, valued, and incorporated into impactful corporate changes. The ‘Take Time for TEA’ starter pilot is the first step in an exploration into the perspectives of UK listed companies regarding fostering this imperative inclusive investor engagement.

Nurturing a Conduit for Sustainable Corporate Strategies

One big question is how companies can show their care about their retail investors and how can they prepare themselves to engage with future shareholders, particularly those from Gen Z?.   One suggestion that TEA is putting forward is for companies to show their support for shareholder democracy and global participation is to show they are willing to listen to current and future shareholders.  Showcasing their support for investor input will strengthen their efforts in improving retail investor relations. Through an open platform, companies can clearly express their commitment to transparent investor engagement.

Empowering the Ecosystem through Inclusive Consultation

At TEA, the plan is to start with initial questionnaire aimed at delineating the current investor engagement landscape in the UK. Through this, TEA endeavours to cultivate an environment that propels positive changes, accentuating the concurrent benefits to the people, the planet, and the corporate domain through robust dialogue between companies and retail investors.

Sheryl Cuisia continues, “Our aim is to help shape the next generation of informed investors who understand the importance of a two-way dialogue with companies. TEA’s proactive strategy is multifaceted, from championing the ‘S’ in ESG to ensuring businesses are ready for the future.”

By providing a platform for an enriched engagement between retail investors and companies, TEA is aiming towards a future where investment transcends financial implications, embedding within it a potential to architect substantial, sustainable changes in society and our planet.

By acting as a conduit that amalgamates the insights, perspectives, and influences of a wide array of investors and companies, TEA hopes for a corporate world that is not only driven by profits but is also deeply embedded in the roots of societal and environmental well-being.

The Engagement Appeal has published a white paper, further highlighting the need for greater engagement between companies and their retail shareholders. Available to download: https://tea.dev.purple-lemur.co.uk/white-paper/

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