The Firstrand Ltd 2019 shareholder engagement non-event…..

Shareholders were invited by the Firstrand Ltd board to join a teleconference yesterday, 1 February 2019. 

This related to the failure of the board to secure the requisite majority of votes at the AGM held in November last year, dealing with the non-binding advisory resolutions on the endorsement of the remuneration policy and remuneration implementation report. 

Following the teleconference Firstrand released a SENS announcement, indicating that 8 shareholders / shareholder representatives participated in the teleconference and that several shareholders posed questions.

Proxy View joined a client, who is also a shareholder of Firstrand, in this teleconference. Our recollection is that the teleconference lasted all of 20 minutes and only one shareholder posed a question.

At Proxy View we consider this method of shareholder engagement adopted by issuers, to be unsuccessful.  Asset managers are reluctant to engage in such a public forum.

Several issuers have had similar experiences in recent months and a fresh look at alternative options available to an issuer, is needed.