77. advocacy update - 29 April 2022

By Fiona Balzer, Policy and Advocacy Manager, and Damien Straker, Advocacy Coordinator
29 April 2022

Welcome to the mini-AGM season! ASA will attend the AGMs for TPG Telecom, Santos, Rio Tinto and QBE in the coming week.

Mini-AGM Season

Companies are usually required to hold their AGM within five months of their balance date, with an additional 1 month allowed for companies with a financial year ending on a date that is between 24 December 2021 and 7 January 2022 (both inclusive) on account of COVID-19.

Companies with 31 December balance dates make up the mini-AGM season which occurs from April to June. We will attend around thirty company meetings during this period.

The majority of ASX listed companies have a 30 June balance date and most (over 80%) of the AGMs ASA attends each year take place during October to December.

Next week we will be attending the TPG Telecom meeting, where we will be voting in favour of all the resolutions. The remuneration structure is simplifying as the merger (with Vodafone Hutchison) is bedded down, and we applaud the flagging of the move to a more traditional deferral of half the short-term incentive. At the Santos AGM, the recent Oil Search merger has added three former directors of Oil Search to the board. The merger and acquisition has markedly increased the global spread of Santos assets, we are supporting the company sponsored resolutions.

At IRESS, it too is bedding down an acquisition (Onevue), and we look forward an update on how the company is tracking against its bold new strategy and 5-year targets announced in August 2021 after the company underwent a strategic review. We will be voting against the remuneration report and grant to CEO where the main objection is the sheer quantum of what is on offer. The new Performance Rights offer is almost guaranteeing the CEO and his Executive team a massive uplift in their total salary unnecessarily.

We will be voting against the remuneration report and grant at the QBE meeting, for the third year in a row. We are happy that QBE has announced that these measures will be changed from 2022, but full details have yet to be released and we will wait to review them. They will encompass the short-term incentive equity deferral and performance measurement to encompass a balanced scorecard with the long-term incentive performance measures with an increased weighting to Group Cash return on equity and relative total shareholder return, reducing from 2 to a single global peer group based on Global Insurance peers and removal of the catastrophe collar.

The meetings that will be held in the coming weeks are included in the table below with the link to their voting intention reports:

The Crown scheme meeting scheduled for Friday 29 April 2022, has been postponed until 20 May 2022, due to Blackstone not yet obtaining the gaming regulatory approvals required under the terms of the Scheme Implementation Deed despite good progress being made.

We attended the Hills Limited (HIL) general meeting last week. At Hills, shareholders agreed to the divestment of Hills Security and Information Technology Distribution Division to listed company Dicker Data (DDR). If the divestment completes as expected, it will be followed by a restructuring and modernisation of the company to position it to compete effectively in the health-tech space. It’s hard to believe the South Australian company once had a market capitalisation ten times it’s current size and was S&P/ASX200 index (removed in 2011).

 For the full list of meetings ASA will attend, head to Upcoming AGMs on the ASA website where you will also be able to download and read the voting intentions for each company meeting. You can also read the reports on the AGMs which are submitted in the week following the meeting either online on the How we vote page or the Companies we monitor page or excerpts in EQUITY magazine.

Voting intentions reports on these pages are restricted to member-only and you need to login to view the company pages. You can search by ASX code, company name or date of meeting.

Give Your Proxy To The ASA

Your proxy counts! You can vote your shares or give your proxy to the ASA for the meetings above to be voted as outlined in the voting intentions posted to the website.  Give your proxy to Australian Shareholders’ Association via online voting or give a standing proxy.

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