AGM Ezine

Now trending

22 September 2015

2015 AGM trends and legislative changes for 2016 and beyond were discussed during Equiniti's recent AGM Forum.

Equiniti’s 2015 AGM Forum discussed the 2015 voting trends and identified a series of emerging new directions for 2016 and beyond. Foremost among these was a higher number of companies than expected seeking remuneration policy approval, an increase in poll voting over voting on a show of hands among FTSE 350 companies (and the mid and smaller cap sections of the market), and new rules surrounding share allotment on a non-pre-emptive basis.

After the rush to approve remuneration policies in 2014, there were still a number of companies who had reason to propose a remuneration policy to shareholders again in 2015. Additional key facts include:

  • Over 100 companies have put a remuneration policy to shareholders for approval so far this year, with an average vote in favour of the remuneration policy of 93.58%.
  • The number of companies that sought 10% authority to allot shares on a non-pre-emptive basis has increased due to the Pre-Emption Group publishing a revised statement of principles for the disapplication of pre-emption rights in March 2015.
  • In 2014, 14.06% of surveyed companies requested 10% authority to issue shares on a non-pre-emptive basis, but this has jumped considerably to 27.99% of surveyed companies so far in 2015.

The Equiniti AGM forum was well attended this year and received positive feedback, attracting 38 company client delegates. An informative presentation, encompassing topics as diverse as the aforementioned voting trends, as well as the ramifications of legislative changes and the future of the AGM, was delivered by Equiniti's Lisa Graham and Jenny Casson from Prism Cosec.

The pair identified two changes of particular note for companies leading into 2016, related to auditors and shareholder activists. In the former case, revision now requires that contracts for external auditors be put out to tender every 10 years in order to address concerns over the long relationships between companies and their auditors.

The latter trend surrounds recent legislative changes that require listed companies to be more forthcoming with regard to payment practices and policies such as the monitoring of human trafficking, tax transparency and pay equality between genders.

“Overall, the presentation provided plenty of food for thought for those in attendance,” said presenter Lisa Graham. She continues:

Feedback from clients was very positive and an interesting debate as had regarding the future of AGMs.

For more information, please download the AGM Trends Brochure below.