Interactive Investor

interactive investor AGM poll results

Most private investors never participate in AGMs, and investors ask for clearer language, more information, and a simplified process.

29th May 2024 15:03

by Camilla Esmund from interactive investor

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  • In a website poll run by interactive investor, more than 50% of poll participants said they don't participate in AGMs meetings, and only 6% said they always participate.
  • Half of poll respondents said investment platforms should simplify the online voting process, and 36% of participants said it's important to use simple language for clear resolutions.
  • interactive investor has continued to innovate to help its customers better engage with AGMs, including being the first UK investment platform to introduce voting on its app.
  • interactive investor has also continued to call for the use of ‘Plain English’ by UK Plc in shareholder communications to encourage more participation. 

With 2024’s annual general meeting (AGM) season unfolding, interactive investor, the UK’s second-largest investment platform for private investors, has asked investors about their participation in shareholder AGMs and the barriers they face to engaging with them.

Conducted via a poll of over a 1,000 on the ii website, the research found more than half (58%) of investors never participate at AGMs and 22% rarely do. That means 80% of shareholders - four out of every five – rarely, if ever, exercise their right to be heard by executives at the companies they own a stake in.

AGM poll pie 1

Why don’t investors engage?

AGM voting empowers customers, fostering active participation and strengthens their commitment to shareholder engagement, and 52% of respondents said they didn’t face any barriers to participating in AGMs.

Of those who recognised they do face barriers, however, the biggest obstacle was time. A quarter (28%) said they don’t have the time to access the information, read through complicated proposals/votes, or make an informed decision to vote.

To make it easier for investors to have their say, interactive investor (ii) introduced the 'voting mailbox' service, ensuring that customers receive timely notifications of shareholder events, such as AGMs, and enabling them to cast their votes online. Furthermore, since July 2023, ii customers have enjoyed the added convenience of voting directly through the platform’s app.

A small minority (7%) said they had issues with the information provided by companies. This seems to have been interpreted differently to the next poll question, which found 36% of investors would find it easier to vote if they were given simple language for clear resolutions.

AGM poll pie 2

Appetite for AGM voting  

Lee Wild, Head of Editorial, interactive investor, says: “There does seem to be an appetite among investors to participate in AGM voting. Around half of our poll respondents said it would be easier to vote if online investment platforms simplified the voting process.

“Companies can also do their bit by ditching the jargon and legalese to make resolutions clearer and easier to understand, according to 36% of respondents, while 32% wanted more information on resolutions and their impact.In light of these insights, ii continues to provide regular guidance for private investors on navigating AGMs and leveraging their voice for meaningful change in the near term.”

AGM poll pie 3

Initiatives could boost shareholder voting participation

According to ii’s poll, a range of potential initiatives to encourage shareholder voting could have a positive impact on participation.

For example, a reward system would see half (47%) of the poll respondents more interested in participating at AGMs, and better communication from companies could be a trigger for 39%.

A quarter of investors would be more likely to get involved if they had enhanced access to AGM platforms and a similar amount could be better engaged by resources that highlight the value of AGMs.

AGM poll pie 4

Notes to editors:

The poll was hosted on interactive investor’s website from the 2 May 2024 to 3 May 2024. It had over 1,000 respondents.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

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