At the International Corporate Governance Network conference in London in March, Baroness Hogg, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council in the UK (FRC), warned that the European Commission is likely to seek to impose greater levels of regulation on investors unless stewardship is significantly improved.

She said that the investment community was entering “a critical phase” in the development of the UK Stewardship Code and that, whereas the UK Stewardship Code had “got off to a reasonably good start”, compliance was still not necessarily the norm in investment practice.

She said: “We have to remember the risks of sliding back to where we were before because the authorities in Europe will then fail to be convinced stewardship can work and would revert to the view that investors are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

The Stewardship Code, which relates to institutional investors and their engagement with UK listed companies, was introduced by the FRC in July 2010.  It is not applicable in Ireland and the Irish Stock Exchange have indicated in the past that it did not intend to introduce a similar code here.