Britain’s top bosses pocketed more in the first two working days of 2016 than the average worker will earn all year, leading critics to denounce “Fat Cat Tuesday” earlier this week.

But are fund managers - who invest our savings and pensions in big business - doing enough to challenge bloated bonuses?

Not according to one regulator, who will start naming and shaming major shareholders who fail to question excess pay.

The Financial Reporting Council has been forced to beef up its stewardship code, introduced in 2010 to force institutional investors to hold investee companies to account on issues like executive remuneration.

The FRC is to start exposing funds that have failed to meet the code’s requirements from July 2016, saying progress is being made but not “consistently and transparently”.

Fund managers who shirk their stewardship duties could face expulsion from the code unless they clean up their act within six months.

It all suggests that the political war on runaway rewards, primarily waged by former business secretary Vince Cable, has so far failed.

The Chartered Institute of Personal Development declared salaries at the very top to be “out of control” in a scathing report published last month, saying chief executives have gone from earning 47 times more than their lowest paid worker in 1998 to 183 times more today.

The 36-page study said: “The government claimed its reforms would provide shareholders with new powers to hold companies to account, while making it easier to understand what directors were earning and how this links to company performance…however, there is little evidence that the status quo has been disturbed in any meaningful way by these reforms.”

It cited research conducted by the High Pay Centre, the think tank behind this week’s statistics on Fat Cat Tuesday, which revealed that the average shareholder vote against FTSE 100 remuneration reports in 2014 was just 6.5 per cent. Only two FTSE 100 companies – Burberry and Intertek – lost an advisory vote on their remuneration reports in 2014.

One of last year’s bigger revolts was at Morrisons over a £1m bonus to departing chief Dalton Phillips, prompting a 36per cent vote against the remuneration report.

But the High Pay Centre said: “There has been no majority binding shareholder vote against a FTSE 100 company’s remuneration policy since the binding vote was introduced in 2013.”

Last year, research by ShareAction, an investor rights charity, claimed that several asset managers, includingBlackRock , Aberdeen and Schroders, backed controversial company proposals too frequently.

Catherine Howarth, chief executive of ShareAction, insisted that exposing those institutional investors who routinely side with management on pay votes has made them more accountable. “Although some still do not publish their voting records, we have seen big improvements in transparency on voting decisions by asset managers, and the data shows a clear connection between transparency and a willingness to vote down big pay deals.”

This could mean that Britain will eventually follow America’s lead in forcing companies to publish the disparity in wages between bosses and average employees. One non-profit body – Pay Compare – has started publishing such ratios on its website, though the vast majority relate to councils and public bodies at present. The group is urging investors and members of the public to write to FTSE 100 companies as so-called “ratio requesters”, using its online template.

Colin McLean, co-founder of SVM Asset Management in Edinburgh and a regular commentator on governance issues, said: “The area that is perhaps easiest for shareholders and boards to tackle is the issue of incentives with easy hurdles, such as references to very narrow peer group comparisons. There are a number of incentives that look like simply being paid a bonus for doing your core job.”

But he warned that even an active board pressurised by engaged shareholders “can only collect information from remuneration consultants that is pegged to what everyone else is doing”.

Mr McLean said he welcomed the FRC’s declaration but was concerned that its plans “may not be very effective and would require a lot of resource and paperwork to verify”.

ShareAction has been encouraging individual shareholders to attend the annual general meetings of FTSE companies to raise the issue, and insists that progress is being made. Ms Howarth said: “We’ve enabled thousands of savers, who are individual investors via their pension savings, to email their pension funds asking them to vote down excessive pay deals. Pension funds are institutional investors but they manage the savings of individuals, who can make a real difference by making their views known to their funds.”