Publication Tomorrow’s Owners

by Luke Robinson _______4th November 2009

Executive Summary

Tomorrow’s Company has been thinking about the role and responsibility of owners since our formation in 1996.

Our report, ‘Tomorrow’s Owners: stewardship of tomorrow’s company’, was published on 8th October 2008, the very day that large parts of the UK banking sector were taken into public hands. This report made a distinction between the real economy, the financial economy and the casino economy and described how ownership of shares was becoming more global. More importantly, it warned about the erosion of stewardship. If the activities of the ‘casino economy’ within the global economy grow to such an extent that they begin to dominate the system, they may undermine the ability of companies to create and sustain themselves over the long term, and to play their full role in addressing the problems that society faces.

Since then there has been a welcome rallying of support for the exercise of stewardship in the UK, and our concern now is that this momentum goes beyond principle and is followed through in practice.

‘Tomorrow’s Owners: defining, differentiating and rewarding stewardship‘ is a report describing The Tomorrow’s Company Stewardship Principles. These are intended to provide a foundation for differentiating between good and bad stewardship.The report also describes how changes in shareholder and board practice could be encouraged by the development of a kite mark for stewardship investment, and how government could act to promote improved stewardship.In parallel, we are studying the Swedish approach to nomination committees and considering the potential for this approach to improve the stewardship of companies in the UK.