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For previous observations by the referenced report's author on the effective management of annual meetings, see



Forum Report: E-Meetings and Fair Investor Access

Winning the Support of Investors at the Annual Meeting

The Conference Board has published the following report written by John C. Wilcox, the Sodali chairman who previously headed corporate governance at TIAA-CREF and chaired Georgeson, recommending effective board practices for responding to investor interests addressed in annual shareholder meetings:

As you will see, the observations are applicable beyond annual meetings to the broader management of investor relationships on which every company’s management depends.  Mr. Wilcox presents this summary of views he has been offering as a panel member and expert commentator in recent Forum programs (pages 4-5 of the report): 

A simple motto – “Treat shareholders as customers” – is the key to managing a successful annual meeting. Companies rethinking their AGM can often find a useful model in their own market research, marketing, and customer relations activities. Planning for the AGM should begin with basic research and benchmarking that can provide answers to critical starting-line questions:

·        Who are the company's ultimate beneficial owners?

·        What are their characteristics and investment goals?

·        What are their perceptions about the company?

·        How can their misperceptions and biases be corrected?

·        How does the company's risk profile, governance, and performance compare with competitors?

·        How can the company convince shareholders that its policies and decisions serve their interests?

·        What sort of packaging, written materials, outreach, road shows, and electronic communications can be used to build loyalty and strengthen relations with shareholders / customers?

Just as companies dedicate executive time, money, and resources to conducting market research and surveying customers, they should also be willing to commit resources and underwrite the costs of identifying, characterizing and analyzing their ownership base; and to benchmarking their governance strengths and weaknesses in preparation for the AGM.

Your comments on these views will be welcomed, particularly in relation to encouraging their practical application in 2013.

            GL – January 2, 2013

Gary Lutin

Chairman, The Shareholder Forum

575 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10022

Tel: 212-605-0335





This Forum program is open, free of charge, to anyone concerned with investor interests in the development of standards for conducting shareholder meetings with electronic participation. As stated in the posted Conditions of Participation, the Forum's purpose is to provide decision-makers with access to information and a free exchange of views on the issues presented in the program's Forum Summary. Each participant is expected to make independent use of information obtained through the Forum, subject to the privacy rights of other participants.  It is a Forum rule that participants will not be identified or quoted without their explicit permission.

The organization of this Forum program was encouraged by Walden Asset Management, and is proceeding with the invited leadership support of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and Intel Corporation to address issues relevant to broad public interests in marketplace practices, rather than investor decisions relating to only a single company. The Forum may therefore invite program support of several companies that can provide both expertise and examples of leadership relating to the issues being addressed.

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Shareholder Forum™ is a trademark owned by The Shareholder Forum, Inc., for the programs conducted since 1999 to support investor access to decision-making information. It should be noted that we have no responsibility for the services that Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., introduced for review in the Forum's 2010 "E-Meetings" program and has since been offering with the “Shareholder Forum” name, and we have asked Broadridge to use a different name that does not suggest our support or endorsement.