Shareholders seem to be taking their rights more seriously as banks observe larger turnouts at their annual shareholder meetings. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal (which can be seen in full here) it has been observed by the proxy voting agency Manifest for Financial News that the average proportion of shares which were represented and the annual meetings of Europe’s twelve largest banks went up to 52% this year from 46% last year. This increase in attendance is seen as a response to the financial crisis which is perceived to be largely the fault of risky practices and other management decisions made by banks without the direct involvement of the majority of shareholders.
According to David Ellis, the corporate governance manager of proxy voting consultancy Pirc,
“The increase in turnout is not surprising given the issues faced by the banking industry over the last year and is an indication that shareholders are taking their rights as owners seriously and willing to keep management in check.”
“The figures are also a reaction to the crisis. The next step is for shareholders to get proactive and engage with companies to make sure it does not happen again.”
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