VP Annual General Meeting Analysis Active ownership and digitisation set the scene
As previous years, we have gathered data and impressions from the Danish AGMs in order to shed light on facts and development trends.
Evolution rather than revolution – that is what characterises Danish AGMs.
But over recent years something has happened, as investors – especially institutional investors – are exercising their ownership rights more actively. This development is expected to continue and companies will have to adapt their AGM planning accordingly. Also new technological opportunities influence the AGM planning and set-up. As previous years, we have gathered data and impressions from the Danish AGMs in order to shed light on facts and development trends.
Below we summarise the main trends and takeaway’s from the 2018 AGM season:
- In recent years, the registered capital represented at AGMs has stabilised at around 50 per cent. The implementation of active ownership policies in accordance with new stewardship codes and the amended Shareholders’ Rights Directive is expected to cause an increasing trend over the coming years.
- For a number of years, ATP was virtually the only Danish institutional investor present at AGMs, but in 2018, a number of additional institutional investors were active – and both voted at and attended AGMs.
- Companies seem to have established better and more regular dialogue with influential investors and proxy advisors – and have gained better insight into proxy advisors’ policies and voting recommendations.
- Even though investors are actively exercising their ownership rights at AGMs, the debate at AGMs is limited and the number of ballots is low – which among other things reflects few proposals from shareholders (ballots are typically held as a consequence of these proposals) and a generally attractive economic climate for companies.
- The key issue for debate during the 2018 AGM season was remuneration, but we also saw more debate on the subject of overboarding.
Intensified digitisation of AGMs, but no technical revolution
- The AGM production chain is becoming more and more digitised, with digital communication and electronic admission cards. This development is driven by the need for supply reliability and cost savings.
- The electronic admission card is a great success and will account for an increasing ratio over the coming years.
- Even though digitisation of the AGM production chain is increasing rapidly, we have not seen any breakthrough for the virtual or partly electronic AGM.
- Initially, we expect companies to test the relatively simple electronic solutions and to take a cautious and incremental approach to AGM innovation.
- The future trend for virtual and partly electronic AGMs is expected to be determined by the technological development, as well as the discussion of how company managements and shareholders want to use the AGM going forward.
We also asked Klaus Søgaard, Partner at Gorrissen Federspiel; Henrik Olejasz Larsen, CIO at Sampension; and Monica Gregers Smidth, Legal Director at Carlsberg, to supplement our 2018 AGM analysis with their experience and external views.
For more information:
Contact Head of Issuer Services Flemming Merring.
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