Shareholders in Jardine Lloyd Thompson have raised concerns about a lack of independent directors on the insurance broker’s board.

More than two-fifths of proxy votes at the annual meeting went against the re-election of Lord Leach of Fairford, deputy chairman, excluding the 40 per cent stake in the FTSE 250 company held by the conglomerate Jardine Matheson.

Lord Leach, who chairs the insurance broker’s nominations committee and is a member of the remuneration committee, is also a director at the majority shareholder.

The Conservative peer is one of two directors with links to Asia-focused Jardine Matheson.

Lord Sassoon, the former Treasury minister and former UBS Warburg banker who became executive director of Jardine Matheson in January, has joined the insurance broker’s board.

He replaces Simon Keswick as a Jardine Matheson representative.

In a statement in response to the vote, JLT said their [Lord Leach and Lord Sassoon] presence was “appropriate and in the interests of shareholders”.

The company also said it believed “their presence does not detract from their independence and judgment on any relevant issue”.

JLT has endured significant shareholder votes against previous resolutions at its annual meetings.

Last year 42 per cent of independent votes were cast against a plan to waive rules that could force Jardine Matheson to make a bid for the company if it proceeded with a share buyback.

JLT did not put the plan to a shareholder vote this year, which could require Jardine Matheson to make a full bid in the event of a share buyback in which it did not participate.

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