Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Be an active investor

Reading the news today about 94 New Zealand Housing Corporation employees ensconced at a luxury resort in Tongariro at taxpayer expense, got me thinking about accountability of management amongst our listed companies and shareholder involvement or lack thereof in the businesses that they have invested in.

Even before investing in a listed company, you would do well, as part of your research to get in touch with the management of the company and have a chat. You maybe surprised who you might get hold of and you could even find yourself talking to the CEO, or the company secretary at the very least. They can only say no. I myself have talked to several leaders of the companies I own a part of and you can glean quite alot from a quick chat.

Of course if you do business or become a paying customer at one of the businesses you have a shareholding in, it doesn't hurt to give your feedback, positive of negative, about your experience. How the employee/manager at the end of the phone or across the desk deals with your feedback can say alot about the company you are invested in.

Shareholders should at the very least tick all the boxes in the forms that they get in the post come annual general meeting time. The form that you get will allow you to vote on remuneration, cast your ballot for directors and vote on any extraordinary decision the board may put to shareholders in a particular year, amongst other things.

These kinds of votes become even more important when your company has a takeover or merger offer made. Don't ignore these requests for your input. They are important, even though you might think you have only one vote, you do have ownership of a part of the company-exercise that ownership.

Go to annual meetings. You don't have to be a Bruce Sheppard, the head of the NZ Share Holders Association, but listening to the other shareholders ask questions, the ability for you to give your point of view on company direction is going to be a benefit to your decision to hold or fold.

Sadly in the 10 years I have held shares I have never been to a meeting, they are always on in the middle of the day when I am busy but that dear readers is another column.

New Zealanders are a passive bunch at the best of times. Foreign shareholders are far more involved and tend to have more say in the company's' that they own.

Remember, it is your money invested and you do have a say in your part share of the listed company that you own. It doesn't have to be a completely hands off experience and getting involved makes that investment a more exciting prospect that a certificate in the top drawer or an electronic company code on your computer screen.


Related Share Investor reading

Research,research,research
Stick to what you know
Investors can learn from my stupidity

From Amazon

The Development of Equity Capital Markets in Transition Economies: Privatization and Shareholders Rights (Contributions to Economics)

The Development of Equity Capital Markets in Transition Economies: Privatization and Shareholders Rights (Contributions to Economics) by Dirk Willer


c Share Investor 2008