The Blog

TEA’s AGM Odyssey: An Insider’s Guide to Attending AGMs

May 15, 2024 | Investors, TEA Insights

By Sarah Penney

Annual General Meetings (AGMs) offer a unique opportunity to connect with the companies you invest in. Our Founder and CEO, Sheryl Cuisia, a passionate advocate for positive shareholder engagement, is on a mission to attend as many AGMs as possible. The goal is to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly, to share best practices, help companies attract more retail investors to AGMs, and encourage retail investors to actively engage in these powerful forums. 

Since embarking on this mission in early May, Sheryl has already attended over 10 AGMs. Here’s a look at her learnings so far and how you can follow in her footsteps to make the most of these events. 

Why Attend AGMs? 


AGMs provide shareholders with direct access to company executives, offering a rare chance to ask questions and gain deeper insights into the company’s performance and strategy.  

For retail investors, attending these meetings can be incredibly enlightening and empowering. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting, AGMs can enhance your understanding of your investments and inform your decision-making process. 


Can You Attend AGMs If You Invest via a Broker, Intermediary, or Platform? 


Absolutely! One of the common misconceptions is that only those who hold shares directly can attend AGMs. However, even if you invest through a broker or an online platform, you are still entitled to attend these meetings. It’s all about knowing how to navigate the process. 


Signing Up for an AGM 


Here’s our step-by-step guide, based on Sheryl’s experience as an investor buying shares through an investment platform: 

1. Invest in a Company: Buy a share (or shares) through a platform or broker of your choice. Make sure you check that your chosen platform allows you to participate in AGMs. Most major ones do, but it’s always good to confirm. Contact their customer service if you’re unsure. 

2. Request a Letter of Representation: This will be requested through your platform. They’re sent through the post and can take up to 2 weeks to arrive, so make sure you request this well in advance of the AGM you want to attend. 

3. Prepare Yourself: To get the most out of the session, you should properly prepare by reading the Notice of Meeting, the Annual Report, familiarise yourself with the Board, and read up about any recent news from the company. If the AGM is hybrid and you plan to attend virtually, make sure you ask your broker for the log-in details in advance. 

4. Submit Questions Beforehand: If you know which questions you’d like to put to the Board ahead of the AGM, then make sure you submit them beforehand. Look for the company’s guidance on where to send pre-prepared questions. Often this is done by email. 

5. Turn Up Early and Bring Your Paperwork: AGMs can be pretty old-school and many are in-person only. You need to sign-in to enter the venue, showing physical copies of your ID and Letter of Representation. It’s best to turn up 15-30 minutes early to make sure you’re there for the start of the meeting. For virtual attendance, make sure you login promptly. 

6. Engage in the AGM: Once you’ve made the effort to turn up to the meeting, make the most of it! Actively listen to the speakers, make notes, and ensure you raise your hand clearly if you have a question.  


Sheryl’s Insider Tip: 

“I have several questions about shareholder engagement that I’ve been asking each company whose AGMs I attend (as well as those whose AGMs I haven’t been able to attend). I always ensure I email them to the relevant people beforehand, often this is the Company Secretary, Board members and the Chair. 

However, I don’t tend to ask these questions during the AGM itself. During the session, I note down issues I’d like the Board to elaborate on or questions that arise during the discussion, and I try to ask these during the AGM. I then follow up my pre-AGM email to ask for responses to my initial questions. This allows me to begin a dialogue with the company, enabling us to have a more in-depth 1:1 conversation about the issues most important to me.

If there’s a specific issue you want to discuss with a company you invest in, I suggest giving this a go.” 


Final Thoughts 


Sheryl’s mission is all about helping other retail investors make the most of their AGM experiences. By sharing her insights and learnings, TEA aims to demystify the process and encourage more investors to take advantage of this valuable opportunity. 

Attending AGMs can be a powerful tool in a retail investor’s toolkit. By following Sheryl’s lead and actively participating in these meetings, you can gain a deeper understanding of your investments and make more informed decisions. So, whether you hold shares directly or through a broker, don’t miss out on the chance to engage with the companies you invest in. 

Attention Listed Companies!

As well as providing insights and guidance to individual investors, TEA is devoted to enhancing alignment between companies and individuals as a crucial step in modernising investor relations.

To further this goal, we’re inviting listed companies to participate in a brief survey aimed at gauging their understanding and current level of engagement with individual investors.

Please spare a few minutes to complete our survey by clicking here.

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