** Official ShareSoc News **
This is an excellent report. The FRC appear to have taken on board many of the points we raised. I particularly liked the recommendations that investors provide their email address to the company/registrar to facilitate communication; and the description of the purpose of the AGM-
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is an essential governance event for companies and their shareholders. It should provide transparency, accountability and integrity, to company governance and decision-making. It is an opportunity for:
- The board to present the company strategy and performance, and other matters to investors.
- Shareholders to hold the board to account through Q&A and discussion.
- Shareholders to exercise their vote after consideration of the information presented.
In our submission, we made explicit reference to the fact that many institutional investors seem to consider AGMs as a waste of time and rarely attend them. We stressed how important AGMs can be and we are delighted that the FRC have accepted our view.
We are great fans of the hybrid approach and favour having a shareholder engagement meeting a week or so before the AGM where shareholders can ask questions and get answers and then have the necessary information to decide how to vote. The FRC suggestion of a split AGM is much the same as our idea and would be quite acceptable.
The FRC recommendation of investors providing email addresses to the company is a good one. Is is a nudge for companies to adopt this as best practice. As such, ShareSoc consider this a great win in response to our shareholder rights campaign, but the real problem of not having the email address alongside that of the nominee on the shareholder registrar still needs to be addressed and this is what the Law Commission is currently looking at in its review of intermediated securities.
The FT wrote this – see https://www.ft.com/content/aa6695be-1fea-4925-b670-e0d581113aa3, including various mentions of ShareSoc and a quote from me –
In response to the FRC report, ShareSoc director Cliff Weight said that not allowing Q&As and live voting at company meetings showed “a callous disregard of investors’ rights”.
The FRC report CORPORATE GOVERNANCE – AGMs: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE can be downloaded here.
Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc