Best Practices for Managing Security ...

… and Dealing with Disruptions from Shareholder Activists at Annual General Meetings (AGMs)

Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are important events for companies and shareholders, providing a platform to discuss corporate matters and make key decisions. However, AGMs can also attract shareholder activists who may seek to disrupt proceedings or raise contentious issues. To ensure the smooth functioning of AGMs and maintain security, companies should implement best practices for managing such situations effectively.

  1. Pre-AGM Planning and Communication.Prioritise thorough planning and communication to set the stage for a successful AGM. Clearly outline the meeting agenda, rules, and expectations to shareholders in advance. Develop a robust security plan that addresses potential disruptions and assign trained security personnel to manage on-site situations. Develop robust scripts that are to be used by the Chair to deal with disruptors, rehearse these in advance of the meeting.
  2. Engage Proactively with Shareholders.Maintain open lines of communication with shareholders throughout the year. Understand their concerns and address them promptly. Regular dialogue can help build trust and reduce the likelihood of aggressive actions at AGMs. Effective shareholder engagement can also lead to productive discussions during the meeting.
  3. Enhance Venue Security.Ensure the AGM venue has appropriate security measures in place. Implement access controls, including ID verification and bag checks, to prevent unauthorised individuals from entering the premises. Arrange for trained security personnel to be present during the meeting and coordinate with local law enforcement, if necessary.
  4. Set Clear Ground Rules.Clearly communicate the ground rules for conduct during the AGM to all attendees. Emphasise the importance of respectful behaviour and adherence to meeting protocols. Enforce these rules firmly but fairly to maintain order and prevent disruptions. Communicate consequences for non-compliance, such as removal from the premises.
  5. Leverage Technology.Consider leveraging technology solutions to enhance security and streamline AGM proceedings. This may include live streaming the meeting to another room so that the AGM can continue if the main meeting room is disrupted.

Managing security and dealing with disruptions from shareholder activists at AGMs requires careful planning, effective communication, and swift action. By implementing the best practices outlined above, companies can ensure a productive and secure environment for their shareholders to exercise their rights and make informed decisions.

AGMs should remain an opportunity for constructive dialogue and engagement, promoting the long-term success of the company and its stakeholders.


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