Does the Annual General Meeting (AGM) need to become an eAGM?


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Introduction

The annual general meeting (AGM) has long been the forum where shareholders and directors have the opportunity to interact. It is a two-way communication forum which facilitates the exchange of information, the examination of profit and performance-related issues and enables shareholders to ask questions of the board about company performance and stewardship.

The AGM is also a vital forum for decision-making, where shareholders vote on company resolutions, approve the remuneration report and elect and remove directors. These dual functions make the AGM a valued element of the governance framework.

Yet, there is widespread acceptance that the AGM in its original form needs to be revised to meet 21st century expectations. When the AGM was originally conceived, it was in an era of horse and coach, pen and ink, limited printing, and a fledgling postal service. Time and the advent of new technologies have meant that many traditional AGM processes, including: the focus on holding physical meetings; using old-fashioned communication and voting methods; and, the centrality of printed meeting materials, need to be critically revisited today.

In 2012, the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) released a discussion paper on the AGM and Shareholder Engagement and commenced public consultation on ideas for AGM reform. CAMAC was due to report its recommendations in August 2014. However, as a result of the Federal Government's decision to abolish CAMAC in the 2014 Budget, this chief project was left incomplete

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