As noted last week, the rate of FTSE100 AGMs has begun to slow down, with only five companies holding their AGMs last week. So how did those companies fare, and are the suggestions of a new shareholder spring warranted?
Four of the five AGMs that were held last week saw shareholder support of over 90% for both sections of the Directors’ Remuneration Report (presumably meaning that the remuneration committee members of Antofagasta, Glencore Xstrata, Legal & General and Royal Dutch Shell were able to enjoy the long bank holiday weekend in relative peace and quiet). Details of the exact numbers can be found in our single source document.
Despite releasing an addendum to its DRR in advance of its AGM on 23 May (to clarify arrangements for the Chairman under the Group Performance Share Plan), HSBC wasn’t able to replicate that level of support, with the policy report receiving a 79.35% backing, and the implementation report enjoying a slightly higher rate at 83.95%.
Over the next couple of months, the focus will shift to the 31 March year end FTSE100 companies. It will be interesting to see how those DRRs tackle some of the more sensitive areas (such as recruitment policies) and whether it is possible to see trends emerging (and possibly lessons learned?) from the September year ends, the December year ends and the March year end FTSE 100s. As described in our previous post, a number of companies have faced a backlash from shareholders during the 2014 AGM season, leading many comments in the media suggesting a renewed shareholder spring along the lines of that seen in 2012. In truth, the jury’s still out on that one, and probably will be until we have seen how the remaining AGMs fare. Even if the current season fails to replicate the hostility witnessed in 2012, it is fair to say that executive pay remains a crucial issue for investors, with both the release of a DRR and the vote at the AGM being significant opportunities for adverse publicity if companies get either “wrong”.