The European Parliament is currently defining its position and mandate with respect to the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on multiple-vote share structures in companies that seek the admission to trading of their shares on an SME growth market.
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise see the proposed Directive as a clear confirmation of the value for companies and markets to have a flexible system allowing such share structures. In Sweden, such structures have been an important feature of the Swedish stock market for a hundred years (see short note).
However, the European Parliament now discusses mandatory safeguards (including mandatory sun set, maximum voting ratio, and strengthened voting rights), which are far-reaching and deeply concerning as they would not only make it less attractive to go public and list on the market, contrary to the aim of the proposed Directive, but also risk ruining existing well-functioning structures in the Member States, such as for example the Swedish structure. In our opinion, a successful minimum level of harmonization must accommodate differences in national practices. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise strongly opposes the introduction of a Directive with extensive mandatory safeguards as this would be counterproductive and highly disruptive. This is further explained in an article prepared in collaboration with the Swedish Corporate Governance Institute.