The Federal Treasury is currently considering a proposal to reduce Board transparency and accountability by permanently removing the requirement for Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to be conducted in person.
We are firmly opposed to this change as it will further diminish retail shareholders’ rights in Australia. Conducted in person, AGMs provide retail investors with the ability to directly and publicly asks questions of a company’s Board of Directors. The virtual alternative, as we have experienced this year, allows Boards to omit, rephrase and reinterpret shareholders’ questions. Retail shareholders will be unfairly impacted by this proposal as they have limited access to a company’s Board and management team outside of an AGM.
Federal Treasury is inviting submissions on the draft legislation by Friday, 30 October 2020. We encourage you to join us in arguing for AGM transparency and accountability to be upheld. If you would like to make a submission, you may use the statement below:
“As a retail shareholder, I oppose the proposed relaxation of companies’ requirement to conduct transparent AGMs. Without physical meetings, retail shareholders will face yet another disadvantage in accessing companies, asking questions and participating in a transparent process.”
You can send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org and find your local Member by entering your postcode here.
If you have any questions in relation to this matter, please reply to this email or call me or Corporate Affairs Advisor Olivia Harris on (02) 9247 6755.
Geoff Wilson AO
Chairman and Chief Investment Officer