As the season of the AGMs approached, I have mixed feelings attending them.
The number one question I get on attending AGMs is, why even bother? What’s the point? I can read whatever they are going to say in the transcript and my vote is so small that it usually would not matter.
Just go for the buffet? (even though more and more companies do not provide buffet anymore)
And yes, to a large extend, I have a huge distaste for AGMs or the conduct of it or actually against the vast majority of people who attend them.
These are some of the questions that hit me like a truck and left me lying on the ground bleeding brain juices:
- Why no buffet? Now only serve us coffee and tea? Should treat shareholders better!
- Will you buy the company shares now?
- The share price will go up or down?
To be fair, these are probably only being asked by less than 5% of the population that attend AGMs.
So why do I mention “vast majority”?
What the difference between the above questions and the ones below:
- Would you consider increasing dividend payout or do share buyback?
- When will your new product be release? What is the estimated adoption/ take up rate?
- Looking at the current climate and recent political issues, what is the expected downturn? Do you think you can still grow?
- How do we forecast your production plans going forward in the current climate where customer behavior seems to be erratic due to the macro environment? Can you give us a clearer guide?
- Is your product X going to out sell product Y and your new product Z going to outsell product X in future? Is this a trend that we can expect to continue?
The bottom one seems much better right?
But, what is the mentality of both?
Primarily: to extract hidden/exclusive/unreleased information from the management
Imagine if you were the company’s management, and every year you have to attend this meeting where “shareholders” are always constantly trying to pry information from you to gain an edge in their share holdings, to know when to buy more or quickly liquidate.
How will you feel attending the meeting every year?
Ultimately, I understand that some questions have to be asked so we could understand the numbers breakdown or the management plans better.
However, can we also be better shareholders?
Instead of purely treating the AGM as a session where only shareholders can make use of to gain value out of the session, can we as shareholders also help the management to gain value out of attending an AGM?
Instead of purely asking questions and extracting information, can we also give constructive suggestions? Can we have a meaningful discussion instead of an interrogation?
- Your new website is great! I had alot of fun reading it and the new content being published. Can you try also doing….. so that…. (one of the better questions I’ve heard in AGMs)
Imagine, if the management have thousands of shareholders on the ground looking out for them, being their advocates and giving constructive feed-backs and being their eyes and ears. Do you think the business will do better?
So let’s start right now, as soon as you read this article, to try and make the management look forward to attending AGMs with their shareholders.
Thank you for reading.