It’s the AGM Season – But Voting Not Easy

We are now in the big Annual General Meeting Season as most companies now have a financial year ending in December. I try to vote all my shareholdings in the companies I hold, but it’s not always made easy.

Some companies where I have direct holdings (and hence am on the share register) no longer send out proxy voting forms. So I have to use my own (see for a form you can use).

But as most of my holdings are held in ISAs and SIPPs (i.e. in nominee accounts) I have to rely on the broker providing a voting system. But most do not which I find utterly despicable. All shareholders should have the right to vote their shares and if you have an ISA account the ISA operator must vote as you instruct them to do. But not providing an on-line voting system obstructs and frustrates shareholders.

One company I hold shares in is SEGRO (SGRO) and I reviewed their Annual Report (cover photo above) today before voting my shares. This is a property company with a large portfolio of warehouses. One can hardly complain about their performance with adjusted earnings per share up 15% last year. But I voted against 8 resolutions out of 24 on the AGM Agenda.

I voted against their remuneration report and policy. The pay of the CEO last year was £5.2 million – up by 39% on last year, which I simply consider to be unreasonable and unnecessary. In addition they are proposing to increase the LTIP limit as a percentage of salary from 250% to 300%. I don’t like LTIPs at all as to my mind they don’t incentivise directors and any LTIP of more than 100% simply drives wage inflation.

I also voted against three of the directors including the head of the Remuneration Committee as I am not clear what some of them contribute in terms of experience and they have too many directors anyway.

I also voted against the share buy-back resolution as I always do as there is no justification in this business, and against the change of notice for general meetings – it’s unnecessary and potentially undermines shareholder voting.

In summary I voted against resolutions 3,4,6,9,13,19, 23 and 24 – I suggest other shareholders do the same.

Roger Lawson (Twitter:  )

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