We continue to track the approach FTSE 350 companies are taking to the holding of their AGMs. We have set out in our snapshot the approach companies have taken on a number of key aspects of their meetings, including where the meetings are being held, what arrangements are being made for Q&A and the level of shareholder engagement being offered.
- Since January 2022, the general trend is that companies are moving back towards the pre-COVID-19 pandemic approach of holding open physical meetings with no electronic participation (78).
- Only a small minority of companies held meetings where they encouraged shareholders not to attend (7) – effectively “closed meetings”. These meetings took place early in the year when COVID-19 restrictions still applied.
- Whilst a number of companies have held hybrid meetings (50), there have also been a significant number of companies who have decided not to hold a full legal hybrid meeting, but have instead held a physical meeting and offered some form of virtual shareholder engagement (eg audiocast and videocast) (31).
- The focus on environmental and social matters continues to increase. The resolutions proposed range from resolutions to approve climate-related financial disclosures, climate change reports, a remuneration policy with ESG metrics, climate transition plans and net zero pathways.
- Such resolutions are being voluntarily proposed by companies with only one being requisitioned. In respect of the requisitioned resolution, the investor withdrew the resolution after Unilever agreed to disclose the share of food and drink sales made up of ‘healthier’ products, as defined by government-endorsed nutrient profiling models. Unilever agreed to set a long-term target and a strategy to increase that share.