Interactive Investor

Your vote counts: why it's now easier than ever to have a say at AGMs

5th November 2021 11:49

Graeme Evans from interactive investor

interactive investor customers are opted-in to vote in the companies they have shares in, making it easier for investors to wield the power of their collective voice.

Redrow (LSE:RDW), Galliford Try (LSE:GFRD) and Dunelm (LSE:DNLM) are holding their AGMs in the next few days, when many of their retail shareholders will find it much easier to exercise the right to vote.

That's because interactive investor has made the ability to vote online a default option for all customers, rather than having to opt-in to use the platform's voting capability.

This means that more than 400,000 UK private investors are empowered to participate at shareholder meetings, starting with those holding shares in Redrow, Galliford Try and Dunelm.

As is the case every week, here's everything you need to know about the upcoming meetings.


When: 10am, Friday 12 November

Where: etc. venues, 1st Floor, 200 Aldersgate Street, London EC1A 4HD.

How to participate: due to the pandemic, anyone attending the AGM in person is requested to provide contact details in writing and is also asked to undertake a rapid lateral flow test before the meeting. Proxy voting instructions are required by 10am on Wednesday 10 November. More details on the AGM can be found here.

Who's in the chair? This is the first meeting in charge for Richard Akers, who has spent his career in property and land acquisition.

How did the housebuilding company do in the year to 27 June? There were 5,620 legal completions generating revenues of £1.94 billion, leading to a 124% rise in pre-tax profits to £314 million. A final dividend of 18.5p a share is due to be paid on 17 November, with the total of 24.5p for the year in line with three times dividend cover.

How much is the boss paid? In July, Matthew Pratt received a 16% increase in his base salary to £625,000, on top of the previous year's 31.7% rise to £540,000 to reflect his appointment as chief executive. Redrow said the latest increase was justified by Pratt's exceptional performance since taking the helm. His remuneration for the past financial year came to £1.1 million after meeting all performance measures to achieve the maximum bonus of £540,000.

What's in the new remuneration policy? The maximum bonus opportunity is being increased to 150% of salary, which Redrow says reflects the size, scale and complexity of its business and ensures high-calibre executives are appropriately incentivised. In light of the recent increase in Pratt's base salary, the bonus opportunity is being limited to 125% of salary in the first year.

What's the view of voting agencies? Glass Lewis believes the bonus opportunity in the new remuneration policy is reasonable relative to the company's FTSE 250 peers, although it will watch the implementation of the policy closely in light of the big salary increase for Pratt.  It has recommended shareholders support the binding vote on the remuneration policy and the advisory vote on the annual remuneration report.

How did last year's AGM go? The remuneration policy vote got 95.03% support after the impact of Covid-19 prompted Redrow to delay plans to update the triennial scheme until this year's AGM. There was 99.19% backing for the annual remuneration report.

How is the company doing on diversity targets? There were two women on the seven-strong board at the time of the annual report, meaning Redrow is short of the Hampton-Alexander target of 33%. This figure improved in September after the departure of former executive chairman John Tutte. There is no ethnic representation, with the Parker review recommending that companies of Redrow's size have one person of colour by the end of 2024. 

Galliford Try

When: 11am, Friday 12 November.

Where: Peel Hunt, 7th floor, 100 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 2AT.

How to participate: questions on AGM resolutions submitted before the meeting will be answered on the company's website before noon on Wednesday 10 November. Those shareholders not attending the AGM in person can use the secure voting service of Galliford's registrar or complete the form of proxy before 11am on Wednesday 10 November. More details on the AGM can be found here.

Who's in the chair? Peter Ventress has been in the role since 2016 and is the former chief executive of textile services business Berendsen.

How did the company do in the year to 30 June? The construction company's profit of £11.4 million was ahead of previous guidance and compared with the previous year's £59.7 million loss. It reported a debt-free balance sheet and will make a final dividend payment of 3.5p a share on 10 December for a total of 4.7p in the year.

How much is the boss paid? Bill Hocking's salary increased to £450,000 after his appointment in 2020 and has risen again to £459,000 for the current financial year. He received an additional £540,000 in cash and shares during the last financial year after meeting his bonus targets, taking his total remuneration for 2020/21 to £1.02 million.

How did last year's AGM go? The remuneration policy got 98.23% support, but the advisory vote on the annual remuneration report only 64.37%. This is likely to have reflected concerns about the finance director's 2019/20 annual bonus, where 50% was based on work to complete the disposal of the group's housebuilding divisions in January 2020. The company said the one-off award reflected the significant nature of this transaction. 

What's the view of voting agencies? Glass Lewis believes shareholders can be satisfied with the company's response to last year's AGM dissent. While there are concerns that awards under the long-term incentive plan may rely on factors beyond the control of executives, the agency has recommended shareholders support the vote on the remuneration report.

How is the company doing on diversity targets? With two women on the board, the company meets the 33% requirement of the Hampton-Alexander review. The 2024 Parker review target on ethnic diversity does not apply to the FTSE All-Share company.


When: 11.30am, Tuesday 16 November.

Where: Dunelm's Store Support Centre, Watermead Business Park, Syston, Leicester, LE7 1AD.

How to participate: shareholders should contact by Friday 12 November if they wish to attend the AGM in person. Questions can be sent to the same address and will be answered after the meeting. Proxy votes are required by 11.30am on Friday 12 November. AGM details and the annual report can be found here.

Who's in the chair? Andy Harrison, former chief executive of easyJet, Whitbread and RAC.

How did the company do in the year to 26 June? Strong digital trading and the company's significant market share growth in UK homewares helped revenues to rise 26% to £1.3 billion, even though stores were closed for more than a third of the year. Pre-tax profits improved 44.6% to £157.8 million, while a final dividend of 23p a share is due to be paid on 19 November on top of the special dividend of 65p handed to shareholders last month.

How much is the boss paid? Nick Wilkinson's total remuneration for 2020/21 came to £4 million, about 80% of which is paid in shares subject to deferral or holding requirements. The overall figure includes the vesting of long-term incentives worth £2.8 million and a bonus of £570,000 after Wilkinson achieved 81.22% of the maximum opportunity. His basic salary of £563,000 has been increased for this year by 3.5% to £582,125.

What's the view of voting agencies? Glass Lewis believes the company should measure performance for its long-term incentive scheme over a full three-year vesting period rather than just the final year. Overall, however, the agency is in support of the remuneration report.

How did last year's AGM go? The remuneration report and the company's triennial remuneration policy were approved with more than 99% of votes cast in favour.

How is the company doing on diversity targets? There were three women directors at the end of the financial year, in line with a policy for the board to be at least one-third female. It has also pledged to ensure at least one board director from an ethnically diverse background.

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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