44. advocacy update - 28 October

By Fiona Balzer, Policy and Advocacy Manager, and Damien Straker, Advocacy Coordinator
28 October 2022


AGM Season

We have been working on our voting intentions for AGL Energy, interviewing the prospective independent shareholder-nominated directors and having the pre-AGM meeting. The report will be available next week.

Strike Count for ASA monitored companies

Company/Against vote on remuneration report

Santos   25.32%
Cleanaway 25.49%
ASX  30.52%
Corporate Travel      33.07%
Blackmores  43.35%

Cleanaway (CWY) joined the list last week, with the “on balance” decision coming down against for around 25% of shares voted, Corporate Travel (CTD) joined the list this week. We were giving CTD another year to come closer to ASA guidelines – looks like they will need to address these concerns in FY23.

And we note the near miss for Credit Corp (CCP) with 23.06% against vote!

Upcoming company meetings

The full list of upcoming AGMs for the rest of the year can be viewed here. Voting intention reports will be available approximately two weeks prior to the AGM date.

Qantas (QAN) AGM

We have received a lot of enquiries from members regarding the Qantas AGM and when our voting intentions will be ready.

Many are not happy with their experience of the hold ups and disruption as customers when flying resumed post COVID. In contrast another member has asked how we can support the company to aid them navigating the return to flying after COVID. Our company monitors are aware of these concerns and have reviewed the company reports and met with the Chair, Richard Goyder, to discuss our concerns.

On balance we will be supporting all the resolutions acknowledging, not only has it been a tough operating environment in the three-year period since the pandemic took hold, but as outlined in the FY20 annual report, the collapse in revenues in the fourth quarter of that year was precipitous.

Passenger numbers fell 98%! Solvency laws are quite strict so companies come to different decisions in such a period when compared with times when continuing as a going concern can easily be assumed.

ASA is normally reluctant to favour pure retention arrangements but, given the circumstances, the suspension of other short-term awards and the hurdles incorporated in the plan, we will vote undirected proxies in favour of the resolution for the CEO’s participation in the Recovery Retention Plan.

Read the full voting intentions report for Qantas here.

The Lottery Company (TLC) AGM  

At year-end, TLC operated as a stand-alone company for one month following its de-merger from Tabcorp (TAH). We found few issues that ASA guidelines suggest should change, such as extending long-term incentive measurement to four or more years, and we request great clarity on short-term incentive measures. We are supporting the resolutions and note TLC is a much larger company than Tabcorp with a market capitalisation north of $9b.

Read the full voting intentions report for The Lottery Company here

Ansell (ANN) AGM  

We are voting open proxies against the remuneration report and grant to the CEO for the following reasons:

The Board decision to award retention benefits to two executives of one year’s base salary, awarded as equity over two years, on Mr Salmon’s appointment as CEO to ensure the stability and continuity of leadership of the Executive Team, with the only condition being their continuing service; AND the lack of any use of TSR (for example as a Gateway) and therefore allowing vesting of rights when shareholder returns are negative. In addition, the maximum CEO package payable is substantially above benchmarks for a company of its size, in large part because the maximum LTI is a very high multiple (2.8 times) of fixed remuneration.

Read the full voting intentions report for Ansell here

Computershare (CPU) AGM

In 2020, the ASA had issues with CPU changing the remuneration of the CEO by issuing Share Appreciation Rights (SARs), but in 2021 the STI and LTI components of the CEO’s remuneration were realigned to be compatible with ASA guidelines, which puts a considerable portion of the CEO’s remuneration at risk.

This continues for 2022, and although the maximum level of remuneration could still be considered to be high, we will support the remuneration report.

Read the full voting intentions report for Computershare here

In case you missed it

Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) AGM  Read full voting intentions report for BEN here

Coles (COL) AGM Read the full voting intentions report for Coles here

Deterra Royalties (DRR) AGM   Read the full voting intentions report for Deterra here

Newcrest (NCM) AGM  Read the full voting intentions report for Newcrest here

BHP Group (BHP) AGM  Read the full voting intentions report for BHP here

Insignia Financial (IFL) AGM  Read the full voting intentions report for Insignia Financial (the name was IOOF until December 2021)

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