The following frequently asked questions, organised under topics, should help you better understand how you can support our work as a shareholder.
Entering into the ACCR agency agreement
What is the agency agreement? If I enter into this agreement appointing ACCR staff as my agent what exactly does that enable them to do?
The agency agreement enables the ACCR to sign a request to the company secretary requesting that the company include the resolution on the forthcoming notice of meeting for an Annual General Meeting (AGM). It also enables the ACCR to vary or withdraw such a request.
The agency agreement does not allow the ACCR to access your shareholdings or act as your proxy regarding the voting of your shares on any resolution.
Why should I appoint the ACCR as my agent to do this?
As a shareholder, if you are worried or unhappy about what a company in which you have shares is doing, appointing the ACCR as your agent to lodge shareholder resolutions on your behalf is an excellent way to assert your power. Rather than selling your shares because you don’t approve of something your company is doing, consider using your position as a shareholder to engage with the company. If you do sell your shares you give up that power and someone less ethical might buy and profit from them.
Are there any obligations (financial or otherwise) involved in entering this agency agreement?
There are no costs involved in registering your shareholdings with us to support shareholding resolutions. There are also no tax administration or tax liability consequences.
Where statements or resolutions need to be distributed to all shareholders by the company, the Corporations Act provides for these arrangements to be made at the company’s expense. The agency agreement will only be used to make a request for a distribution of statements or resolutions.
If you have registered with us you are under no obligation to actively assist with the lodgement of resolutions or make requests to the company.
Does entering into the agency agreement affect my shareholdings in any way?
Entering into the agency agreement with the ACCR to support shareholder resolutions has no impact on your holdings.
What is the difference between appointing a proxy and entering into an agency agreement?
An agency agreement deals solely with making a request for the inclusion of a resolution or the distribution of a statement in advance of a company meeting.
A proxy is a person who attends a meeting for another shareholder and who votes on their behalf.
You can both enter into an agency agreement to support the lodgment of a resolution and still appoint whomever you choose as your proxy to vote on the resolution at the company AGM.
What happens to the information I give you?
The information you provide us is stored in a secure shareholder database. used only for the purpose of lodging shareholder resolutions, confirming your holdings with a share registry and contacting you about our work.
Registering Your Shareholdings
What if my shares are held as part of a self managed super fund?
If you hold shares as part of a self managed super fund (SMSF) you are able to support shareholder resolutions. Please fill out the registration form and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
What if I work with a financial adviser?
If your shareholdings are managed by a financial adviser we can work with your adviser to sign them up. Please contact us at email@example.com to discuss the best way to proceed.
Some of the shares I hold don't appear on the list of shares to register, what do I do?
If you hold shares in companies that don’t appear on our list of companies we are likely to engage with the best thing to do is send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We can add them as a note to your account for future reference.
Can I buy shares for an upcoming resolution?
If you would like to purchase shares to support a particular resolution that is up to you and your financial situation. The minimum trade on a parcel of shares is $500 worth.
Feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com if you have any further questions.
I'm interested in ACCR's work, but do not hold any shares, how can I help?
If you don’t hold shares in any listed companies but would still like to support our work, there are a number of options available:
Updating your information
How do I update my personal information and shareholdings?
If you have already signed up to our shareholder database but need to update your personal information or your shareholdings, firstly sign in to your account.
At the 'Sign in' page, enter your email address and you will be sent a temporary password to log in with. Copy and paste this password from your email.
If you have any questions or problems logging into your account please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can't remember my password, what do I do?
You don’t need to remember your password. A security feature of our database is that it can only be accessed by a unique temporary password that is sent directly to you. Once you have requested a password to log into your account, it will be sent to your email address and you can copy and paste it across.
If you have any problems receiving your password or logging in, send us an email at email@example.com.
What if I have multiple shareholdings?
If you have multiple shareholdings but would like to use the same email address as the point of contact please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you sign them up.
We need to create a separate agency agreement for each of your shareholdings but we have have created a simple process to sign up each holding and will provide you instructions for signing in to each account and updating your details when you need to.
Supporting shareholder resolutions
In Australia, how many shareholders do you need to be able to put a proposed resolution to an AGM?
In Australia, 100 shareholders can request a company distribute a notice about a matter of concern to all the shareholders. Similarly, 100 shareholders can lodge a resolution for consideration by all shareholders at their next AGM.
What happens if I disagree with the content of a proposed resolution or statement?
We will contact you with information about the resolution in advance and if you disagree with the content you will have adequate time to withdraw your support by emailing us at email@example.com.
You can also cancel your agency agreement at any time by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will it become publicly known that I have supported a shareholder resolution?
It is possible, although unlikely. If you enter into an agency agreement with the ACCR, and are a one of the 100 shareholders lodging a shareholder resolution, the Company Secretary of the company which is subject to a resolution will know you are one of many shareholders sponsoring that resolution.
While the ACCR will never disclose a list of supporting shareholders, we cannot guarantee that that the company will not. You may however choose to publicise your own involvement in such an action to raise awareness among your own community.
How does a company annual general meeting (AGM’s) work?
At an AGM shareholders are able to discuss the operation of the company with the company’s board of directors and management. Shareholders may also vote on resolutions dealing with the operation of the company, for example, the appointment of new directors, the remuneration of executives as well as any resolutions put forward by the shareholders.
What makes a shareholder resolution “successful”?
The most successful resolutions are those that are withdrawn. In this circumstance the board will have agreed to act in accord with the proposal because it considers there is already sufficient concern amongst its shareholders.
Even if the resolution proceeds to the meeting but fails to win majority shareholder support, it will often have a significant influence on the operations of the company. The same resolution will often be put to a company a number of years in a row, slowly gathering support.
Once support has reached 10 to 15%, a resolution is generally viewed as being successful however resolutions in Australia are now achieving 20-50% of support.
For the full history of resolutions in Australia, see our resource on Australian ESG Shareholder Resolutions.