2023 Focus Issues
Improving the investment landscape for retail investors isn’t just an objective, it’s a commitment we take seriously. Through targeted advocacy and proactive engagement, we strive to cultivate an investment environment where retail investors can truly thrive. ASA focus issues applicable to the 2023 financial year are:
We expect retail shareholders should receive fair and equitable treatment in all capital raisings. We also expect companies to respect shareholder preferences when distributing communications.
We advocate for the modernisation of shareholder meetings through a hybrid format, which empowers both physical and online participation, allowing more voices to be heard and recognised.
Boards should comprise directors with the diverse skills as required to fulfill the company’s strategic plan. The required skills and accredited skills attributed to each director should be communicated in a board skills matrix which supports the shareholders’ decisions on voting for a director’s election or re-election.
Each director’s workload should allow the director to devote adequate time and attention to the role and company, allowing both the formal and informal requirements to be adequately met. We expect boards will oversee the company identifying, managing and communicating to shareholders on cyber- and data-risk, as well as developing an appropriate and resilient culture within the company.
We expect companies to incorporate sustainability and ESG strategy, practice and reporting in an appropriate, effective way using a recognised standard such as Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures or Global Reporting Initiative.
We review the companies we monitor in regards to resource efficiency, greenwashing avoidance, and the impact of remuneration plans on cultivating a genuinely sustainable culture.
A company’s remuneration report should be transparent and understandable for retail investors with a logical relationship between rewards and financial performance and corporate governance. ASA will refer to benchmarks to assess whether the amount and structure is reasonable compared to similar companies.
ASA prefer hurdles that measure long-term performance over at least four years.
For further information, please consult the ASA voting guidelines.
Last updated May 2023
Voting & Engagement Guidelines
Guided by the foundational principles outlined in our Voting and Engagement Guidelines, the Australian Shareholders’ Association (ASA) serves as a vigilant advocate for corporate governance and investor rights. These guidelines are the bedrock of our comprehensive company monitoring efforts and advocacy initiatives, encapsulating member expectations for exemplary investment performance, ethical director conduct, and corporate governance standards.
When it comes to our voting intentions, ASA will exercise its open proxies on various resolutions at corporate meetings, and ensure they are directly aligned with our established voting and engagement guidelines.
For additional information about ASA’s position on policy issues see Policy & Positions
For selected definitions relating to investment and the guidelines, please refer to our investment Glossary
Effective engagement is the best form of shareholder activism
ASA monitors the performance of most of Australia’s ASX200 companies with a dedicated team of company monitors. These volunteer members meet with company chairs and directors to discuss issues of importance to retail shareholders. in line with ASA’s Voting and engagement guidelines. Company monitors attend AGMs to ask questions and represent our members and retail shareholders.
Become an ASA Monitor
All ASA company monitors are member volunteers.
If you are interested in becoming a company monitor, you can find out more about company monitoring in this (member only access) webinar, where Fiona Balzer (Policy & Advocacy Manager, ASA) gives an in-depth introduction to company monitoring, its purpose, the process and focus. Fiona explains the time you’d need to commit, support available and answer some questions you might have.
Please send any expression of interest in joining the team to Fiona by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, outlining the nature of your investing experience. We will put you in touch with the Chair of the Company Monitoring Committee in your State (outside the main-AGM season October to December).