Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and the Individual Investor

Contributor: ShareSoc

Shareholders of any listed company are guaranteed the right to attend all General Meetings including the AGM where they can ask questions and vote on the various resolutions. Shareholders who hold their shares in either paper certificate form or who are Personal Crest Members will be listed on the company share register.
Often individual investors will hold their shares in the nominee account of the stockbroker or trading platform they use. If individual investors hold their shares in a nominee account, which is typical if shares are held via an ISA , SIPP or General Trading Account, then they are defined as the Beneficial Owner of the shares. As the Beneficial Owner of the shares, it will be the stockbroker or trading platform’s name that appears on the official company share register, not that of the Beneficial Owner.
The terms and conditions of the stockbroker or trading platform will determine whether the Beneficial Owner is entitled to attend AGMS and generally to vote, most allow this and the Beneficial Owner can register their interest to do this with their broker.
There are 2 main ways to enable a Beneficial Owner’s attendance and voting at AGMs;

  • Contact your broker and advise them that you wish them to appoint you as their proxy or provide you with a ‘letter of representation’ for the number of shares for which you are the Beneficial Owner. This would need to be lodged with the registrar a few days before the relevant Meeting with a copy supplied to you in order to be presented when you attend the Meeting.
  • Some brokers and trading platforms now provide an online system which notifies Beneficial Owners of an upcoming AGM with the resolutions and you can complete your voting preference online which your broker then submits on your behalf. If you wish to attend the AGM you would still require your broker to provide a separate ‘letter of representation’; or a copy of the proxy form in order to attend a meeting in person or virtually with proof that your beneficial ownership of the shares. You will need to do this a few days before the AGM.

With a number of companies now hosting virtual AGMs there is the opportunity for more shareholders to participate at AGMs.
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