Afternoon TEA: Kirsty Britz and Emma Reid Join TEA on How Companies Can Improve Engagement at Individual Investor Level
To mark the launch of The Engagement Appeal (TEA), and the release of the inaugural white paper ‘The Path to Inclusive Investor Engagement – A Roadmap for Mutual Benefit’, company founders Danny Wallace and Sheryl Cuisia hosted ‘Afternoon TEA’ for members on June 1st. Joining as guest speakers were Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainable banking at NatWest Group PLC, and Emma Reid, Company Secretary, Essentra PLC.
The meeting, sponsored by Morrow Sodali, took place at Gracechurch Group’s London office, with online participation made available by Investor Meet Company. Key aims of the meeting were to discuss company and investor relations under the banners of engagement, ESGs, and equitable governance.
Sheryl initially kicked-off discussions by introducing some members of the informal committee, including economist and Harvard professor Oliver Hart, responsible for TEA’s strategic white paper Our White Paper | The Engagement Appeal (teaxall.org). Kirtsy Britz was then introduced as Director of Sustainable banking Natwest Group PLC and Non-Executive Director, Boohoo Group PLC, sharing her views on the benefits of company structures that “start and end with engagement.” The panel discussed ways of bettering cooperate governance at individual investor level, such as through retail shareholder events, mini-AGMs, and panels of executive committees – all ways of getting closer to shareholders.
We then heard from Emma Reid, Company Secretary at Essentra PLC and member of the Women’s Company Secretary Circle (WoCos). Emma highlighted the benefits of annual reporting in developing an understanding of who individual investors are, and pushed for there to be more ways of identifying these shareholders. She spoke of the need for investor relations reform and uniformity, encouraging investors to give feedback after meetings.
Turning to AGM season, Danny and Sheryl then proposed the question – what is the most useful platform for shareholder engagement? A unanimous response of hybrid in-person and online events was the clear winner, avoiding any markers “exclusivity”; these hybrid events are opportunities that institutional investors are not responsibly taking up, despite their being key to engagement. This highly successful and thought-provoking interaction was a fantastic way to launch TEA informally to the cooperate world.
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