France’s AMF markets regulator to report on improving shareholder participation at AGMs

Working group looks at three major themes before end-of-year resumé.

France’s markets regulator, the AMF, (Autorité des marchés financiers) has launched a working group of financial companies in a bid to improve shareholder participation at the annual general meetings of French companies. The group, which could propose new regulations or recommendations itself, will report its conclusions by the end of the year. It had its first meeting on May 10th. Olivier Poupart-Lafarge, member of the management college at the AMF is chairing the group, which includes Pierre Dinon, responsible for corporate governance at Allianz Global Investors, and Michael Herskovich, responsible for proxy voting/corporate governance at BNP Paribas Asset Management.
The working group will examine three main shareholder issues.The first is the dialogue between shareholders and corporates around the AGM; in particular concerning the filing of proxy resolutions. The second concerns the functioning of the AGM, notably the registering of votes by investors – particularly overseas shareholders – and the counting of abstentions. It will also examine the legal framework of regulated agreements between shareholders and companies at the AGM and the work of auditors in preparing special reports and information for the annual investor gathering. For each of the themes the working group said it would consider the effectiveness of existing national and European rules.