Tuesday September 2, 2014

Autralian directors oppose annual meetings

Corporate directors in Australia are calling for a major overhaul of the annual general meeting approach, noting it is outdated and does not encourage engagement with management.

The Australian is reporting that Australia’s corporate directors “have called for a major overhaul of the company annual general meeting, warning that it is an outdated form of communication with shareholders that does not encourage engagement with management.” However, a group of leading directors at a recent roundtable forum hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors stopped short of endorsing a proposal to abolish the annual shareholder ritual. QBE Chairwoman Belinda Hutchinson noted that, while the current model of shareholders meeting the board once a year had outlived its usefulness, it was not clear what to put in its place. She concludes, “For retail shareholders, it’s their only chance of seeing and speaking to the company and being heard. Institutional shareholders don’t even bother coming. Retail shareholders just want that, and I just don’t know what you do to replace it.”

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