2016 AGM Season Highlights

Every year, Computershare analyzes and interprets data drawn from hundreds of annual and special meetings to provide statistics, insights and observations on trends affecting our industry. This year we look back at data gathered since 2011 to reveal how these trends have progressed over the past five years.

Distribution type
E-Broadcast of proxy materials has steadily increased over the past five years, as advances in technology make electronic material easier to access and read, and shareholders become more comfortable with receiving material electronically. Issuers have also become more attuned to the costs associated with mass printings and mailings, and are increasingly focused on reducing their environmental impact, factors which have also played a role in the rising popularity of e-Broadcast.

Switching to e-Broadcast requires receiving consent from your registered securityholders, a process that is not instantaneous and can often take multiple requests before consent is received. For issuers that are considering e-Broadcast of proxy materials, we suggest using dividend mailings, quarterly statements, DRIP statements and Investor Centre messages to solicit consent from your securityholders.

AGM Report: Distribution Type 

Vote Return
In 2016 the average number of votes returned for meetings administered by Computershare was 13.15%, an increase of more than 3% over the previous year and the highest percentage of returned votes in the past five years.

AGM Report: Vote Return 

Notice and Access
After a steady increase since its inception in 2013, Notice and Access adoption has leveled off considerably, with only 11 more issuers taking advantage of the solution since last year. Regulations in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia make it easy to adopt Notice and Access, while in other provinces the process does not work with local regulations, and with no indication that provincial regulators are planning to ease their requirements, Notice and Access adoption may be nearing its peak. CBCA issuers can currently use Notice and Access for the distribution of the Information Circular to their registered securityholders, however an exemption is required, and mailings of the Annual Financial Statements and material to beneficial securityholders are not covered. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for CBCA issuers, as Bill C-25, proposed by the Government of Canada in 2016, will allow CBCA issuers to use Notice and Access.

Recently, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), granted exemptions to two Canadian banks and one insurance company, exempting them from the requirement under the Bank Act and the Insurance Companies Act, respectively, to send the management proxy circular to each shareholder. The exemption requires them to make the management proxy circular accessible, and send a notice, following the Notice and Access requirements set out in National Instruments 51-102 and 54-101.  ​

For more on Notice and Access click here.

AGM Report: Number of Issuers 

Voting Channels
The percentage of votes returned via the internet dropped this year, down a little more than 5% from a five-year high in 2015.

AGM Report: Voting Channels 

Over-voting occurs when the tabulator receives more votes cast than can be allocated against an intermediary position, and the three year trend indicates that over-voting remains a persistent problem. Over-voting can raise concerns for retail and institutional securityholders who want assurance that their entire vote was counted.

For issuers, over-voting causes uncertainty about whether or not the proxy count is truly reflecting the intentions of their securityholders, and therefore if proper approvals have been received for the election of their board of directors and corporate initiatives. Approximately 50% of meetings administered by Computershare have some occurrence of over-voting, whether as a result of missing documentation from depositories and intermediaries or actual over-voting.

AGM Report: Over Voting 

As the leading providers of meeting services and securityholder communications and engagement in Canada, Computershare offers a variety of solutions to help make your meeting a success. For more information on Computershare’s Meeting Services, please contact your Relationship Manager or a member of our Sales Team.

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