Stewardship Benchmarking Project


The UK Stewardship Code (“the Code”) is a voluntary code for asset managers (investment managers), asset owners and service providers (such as proxy advisers, investment consultants and data providers). The Code promotes the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society.

In late 2019, the FRC substantially updated the Code introducing new principles and reporting requirements for different signatory groups. Since March 2021, organisations applying to become signatories to the Code have been required to submit an annual stewardship report to the FRC. The report is an account of how signatories have applied the Code over a 12-month period and should detail both their stewardship activities and the resulting outcomes.

Research Purpose

To help the FRC better understand the current stewardship practices of asset managers and asset owners in areas covered by the Code, a research project has been commissioned to provide a baseline assessment of the early changes that the new Code has prompted.

The FRC has commissioned a team of academics from Durham University Business School, King’s College London and practitioners from Minerva Analytics Ltd to conduct this research under the direct supervision of the Financial Reporting Council.

The research will survey Asset Managers (AMs) and Asset Owners (AOs) to address five categories of topics:

  1. Governance and organisation of stewardship at AMs and AOs
  2. Resourcing of stewardship
  3. Asset class and geographical coverage
  4. Changes in activities and process
  5. Stewardship data collection

The Research Team

The Research Team is comprised of:

Dr Anna Tilba – Academic Research Lead – Interview-based research

Dr Tilba is Associate Professor in Strategy and Governance based at Durham University Business School. Dr Tilba has considerable research experience in the field of pension fund governance, accountability and transparency within the UK Financial Services and institutional investor compliance with the codes of best practice. Anna has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries for the UK Law Commission and additionally conducted a research project for the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into the effectiveness of the investment oversight committees, which was published alongside the FCA’s Asset Management Market Study. She has also contributed to the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into the investment consultancy and fiduciary management services and The Pension Regulator’s trustee guide.

Sarah Wilson – Industry Lead – Questionnaire-based research

Sarah is Chief Executive of Minerva Analytics Ltd and has over 25 years’ experience in the field of shareholder voting and stewardship services. Sarah is currently advisor to the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board Responsible Investment Working Group and was appointed by the Department of Work and Pensions to the role of vice-chair of the Taskforce on Pension Scheme Voting Implementation in December 2020.

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou – Academic Co-Investigator

Dr Katelouzou is a senior lecturer based at Kings College London where her research focuses on comparative and transnational corporate law and corporate governance. Her current research looks at the role of institutional investors in developing corporate governance standards at domestic, regional, international and transnational scale. Dionysia is leading the ECGI-supported Global Shareholder Stewardship research group, consisting of more than 100 members across 24 countries around the world.

Research Process

The research project is comprised of two closely linked parts:

  1. Online questionnaire: This will be conducted using an online platform, Survey Monkey and should take around 20 minutes to answer.
  2. Face-to-face interviews: Participants who have answered the online questionnaire may also  be invited to a recorded online meeting with either Dr Anna Tilba and/or Dr Dionysia Katelouzou conducted via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Participation in the interviews is voluntary and participants may choose to only complete the online questionnaire. The transcripts of the meetings will be analysed using specialist qualitative research software, NVivo.

The results of the two parts will then be analysed to form the basis of a written report.

Data Privacy & Confidentiality

The FRC and research team take data privacy and confidentiality extremely seriously.

The written questionnaire and face-to-face interview data collection have been approved by the Durham University Ethics Committee. Unless otherwise agreed by participants, all responses will remain fully confidential and will only be used to inform the FRC research project and any subsequent associated academic research outputs in a summative and non-attributable way.

Minerva Analytics is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office with registration number ZA345824. All information will be stored in the United Kingdom. You can find out more about how the FRC processes personal data here and how Minerva’s Data Protection Policy is here.

Further Questions

Should you have any more questions about the research project, these can be answered in the first instance by sending an email to Minerva.

Last Updated: 13 May 2021