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RAPPORT

AGM Trends

2017

Politically the past year has been turbulent. The results of the EU referendum and the snap general election caught many businesses unaware. Brexit will have implications for the operations of many businesses but the extent of these are still unclear given the ongoing negotiations.

In business, the scrutiny over executive remuneration continued and some came under challenge for their working practices. Did these macro events feed through to considerations and areas of concern for shareholders when reviewing company performance and voting at the annual general meeting (AGM)?

Whilst the nature of most of the formal resolutions passed at the AGM do not perhaps lend themselves to being a barometer of change, investor relation bodies and shareholders can register their concerns and bring pressure to bear when voting on resolutions to approve the annual report, remuneration reports and re-appoint directors. In addition the nature of shareholder questions is often a reflection of investor and broader stakeholder concerns.

Our analysis of 2016/2017 AGMS has highlighted some trends to consider when planning 2018 AGMS. These are: 

• A widening of shareholder rebellions from just remuneration issues to other areas of concern over governance such as over-boarding and director independence.

• Remuneration issues continue to be of concern to investors where they perceive bonuses and pay rises are unjusti ed by performance.

• Ongoing concern over governance issues and ensuring companies are properly run is reflected in areas such as directors having sufficient time to carry out their responsibilities.

• Shareholders are willing to take action in specific cases of high profile accounting or management irregularities.

• A continued interest in exploring electronic meetings.

• A focus on non-financial reporting largely due to regulatory changes and the expectations of investors and stakeholders.

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