'Show of hands' being shown the door

'Show of hands' being shown the door

Australian companies are increasingly adopting poll voting as opposed to the traditional 'show of hands', with 75 per cent of the ASX200 now using the practice for all resolutions, according to a new report.

Research conducted by TIAA-CREF, and supported by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) found that 75 per cent of ASX200 companies now use poll voting over a "show of hands" approach for all annual general meetings (AGMs).

This is a notable increase from 2010, with only a quarter of ASX200 companies engaging in poll voting, the research indicated. 

ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said: “We’ve been advocating for a voluntary commitment to poll voting by Australia listed companies for some time.”

Research by TIFF-CREF indicated that the traditional “show of hands” mechanism is inequitable, giving each shareholder one vote despite the number of securities held.

TIAA-CREF head of stewardship and corporate governance Bess Joffe said: “TIAA-CREF believes shareholders in all global markets should have the right to vote in proportion to their economic stake and that each share of common stock should have one vote.

“This is especially important to institutional investors who hold significant shareholdings on behalf of their beneficiaries but might not be able to attend the AGM in person."

Through a global investor initiative, TIAA-CREF and ACSI said they will continue to engage with companies who have not adopted poll voting. 

"In the longer term, polling should be a mandatory requirement enshrined in the Corporations Act," said Ms Davidson. 

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