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Shell faces investor backlash

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is today facing a significant rebellion from leading shareholders who are dismayed at the allocation of tens of thousands of bonus shares despite the in question executives missing key performance targets. Interestingly, Standard Life has been the more vocal of leading shareholders over the last 24 hours suggesting the company will vote against the motion at the next shareholders meeting.

It will be interesting to see which other leading shareholders come out in favour of Standard Life and its stand against "excessive bonus shares", which they believe have been allocated after a below average performance by the company. While you have to consider the overall economic situation, there is no doubt that performance targets have been missed in what many are now seeing as "rewards for failure".

The Association of British Insurers, perhaps the most influential shareholder associations in the UK, last week issued an "amber" alert in relation to Shell and the policy of issuing bonus shares to executives. Whether the ownership programme will be stopped by shareholders such as Standard Life, and other leading groups, remains to be seen but the excesses of corporate UK are again making uncomfortable headlines for UK regulators and the UK government.

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