A major factor in shareholder education is to enable them to properly interact with the companies that they are invested in, particularly, in their active participation in the Annual Shareholders’ Meetings (ASM’s) of these companies. This will include their being aware of information being released by the companies to their shareholders, by way of direct notices of meetings or postings in the websites of the companies concerned and their participation, physically or by proxy, in the ASM’s.
Beginning in 2013, SharePHIL embarked on a research program to study how small shareholders could better participate in the company’s ASM’s. SharePHIL invested a small amount of shares in selected companies listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. We appointed SharePHIL volunteer-members to attend and observe the shareholders meeting and to record their observations in our checklist. The objectives of this research are:
- To do a bench marking study on an annual basis on how ASMs are currently being conducted which is shared with the companies concerned and the regulators (Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE));
- To promote better communication and mutual understanding between the company and its shareholders;
- To improve quality of engagement of the shareholders in the meeting with the express objective of helping investors make a decision to “buy, sell or hold” the shares in the company;
- To identify areas for further research opportunities and continuing collaboration with the companies.
The 2017 ASM study covered 44 investee companies in which SharePhil has investments and it focused on the observations of the actual meeting proceedings and monitoring of pre- and post-meeting Information Disclosures that are part of the end-to-end ASM governance process.