Following on from Tom Bloomfield’s recent update on AGM Planning and Frequently Asked Questions by Shareholders, Steve Hodkin provides some further useful information in managing the voting process, gauging shareholder sentiment and how the share registry can assist with your Annual General Meeting (AGM).
It’s important to work with your registry to ensure voting exclusions are updated as soon as possible following dispatch of your Notice of Meeting and voting information. Excluded votes of directors, their associates and the company’s Key Management Personnel (KMP) can considerably affect the proxy vote reporting.
Proxy Vote Reporting
We recommend companies schedule regular updates with your share registry provider on proxy voting progress. Although nominee votes are frequently not lodged until 24-48 hours prior to proxy close, it’s important to keep a close eye on proxy reporting at regular intervals after the Notice of Meeting is lodged to gauge shareholder sentiment and prepare yourself properly for the meeting. Your share registry can provide a wide range of reports to track progress. Useful reports include:
- A proxy voting summary to view current voting on each resolution. This report should include the current percentage of issued capital voted. Even if this percentage is very small in the early stages of voting, this provides a good indication of the retail shareholders sentiment as these holders tend to vote early.
- Top 40 Voted – to track those large holders who have voted and ensure their voting is in line with the directors’ recommendation.
- Top 40 Not Voted – This data can help initiate a communication campaign to incite those parties to vote.
- Proxyholders report – It’s good to know which proxyholders have been nominated to attend the meeting and whether these votes have been directed. These people may include persons of interest to the company.
Specialist investor relations firms offer ‘vote tracking’ solutions. This service analyses the proxy advisor’s recommendations and tracks institutional shareholder voting intention prior to the proxy vote being lodged by the nominee.
Ask your share registry contact to keep you informed of any questions or comments submitted with returned proxy forms or through online voting. This will give you a good idea of questions the board of directors is likely to receive at the AGM. Further recommendations on AGM Planning and Frequently Asked Questions by Shareholders can be found here.