Thursday, February 25, 2010

Share Investor Rant: Annual Meetings

When I got my The Warehouse Group [WHS.NZ] invitation for a series of 5 "investor presentations" across New Zealand I was drawn especially to the ones in Christchurch and Tauranga being held on March 15 and 16 respectively.

They kick off at 5.30pm and 4.45pm.

So what? you ask.

Well apart from the fact that it is in Christchurch/Tauranga and I cant attend because I am fabulous Aucklander, if I was in Christchurch or Tauranga I would probably be able to attend.

All the other meetings are on during the middle of the day or morning and this is the traditional time for shareholder meetings for New Zealand listed companies.

I must confess, I have never been to a shareholders meeting and I own shares in 17 different companies. I should go but the reason I haven't been? Like most people I have a day job that keeps me busy and a family to support.

I would love to go to an annual meeting before I retire (if I ever do)and see other people attending that are below the age of 65.

Now I am no conspiracy theorist but what is the deal here?

I am thinking that companies have always conducted themselves in this way, so it has become somewhat of a bad habit to have annual meetings at inconvenient times for most shareholders.

Perhaps listed companies don't want shareholders like me to turn up to their meetings ? I am a bit of a stirrer and my contemporaries are more likely to give directors and CEOs more of a hard time than the generation before us.

Companies conduct "investor presentations" during their working hours for larger shareholders and analysts and these times are convenient to them, why not us little younger guys?

I think it is time directors come to the party and realise that their annual meeting hours do not suit the bulk of their shareholders and it is time we gave them a swift reminder it is us who owns the company.

Perhaps if we got more big mouths like me at annual meetings the good work done by Bruce Sheppard and his NZ Shareholders Association wouldn't be as badly needed as it clearly is.

Shame I cant bring this rant up at a meeting.

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The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) by Benjamin Graham
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