So who has been to an AGM?

If you hold but the one share in a company then you get to attend the AGM.

The Young’s Brewery one was reputed to be a good one. 5 minute speech from the Colonel or whoever was the patriarch and chairman, then “The lads have brewed up some special for us all to try, see you at the back” and the party started. Or so it is said.

Even to the point that one of the perks of Blue Buttons was to be sent off to a few AGMs using the stockjobber’s trading stock as the entrance fee.

It’s also true that now it’s possible to buy stock online and so size isn’t so much of an issue. One can buy one share when in the past you might be significantly encouraged to only buy in an economic lot. And on at least some platforms there is now no commission to pay, so buying very small lots doesn’t carry a minimum fee.

On the other hand, the process of getting registered as the actual – rather than through a nominee – owner seems to have changed.

At which point – what are AGMs usually like in terms of lunch? Or freebies handed out to those who attend? Are you lucky to gain a glass of tap water? Or are there always at least sarnies and a glass of something cooling?

The thought being, well, does spending £10 on the one share mean you get a reasonable lunch every year, if you actually attend?

So, peeps who have in fact attended AGMs. What’s the junket like. And please no, not about Berkshire Hathaway, I know about Woodstock for capitalists. The question is, the average listed stock, whadda ya get for turning up to hear the FD whining about interest rates?

15 thoughts on “So who has been to an AGM?”

  1. I’ve not been to an AGM since I was a young hack, probably 15 years or so. The property companies I covered generally put on a good spread and there was always a few old chaps who’d obviously dropped in just for the feed.

    These days, my bet would be that it’s a more sterile and cheaper affair. Corporate hospitality spending hasn’t fully recovered since the GFC.

  2. I haven’t been to an AGM for about 15 years either. There used to be this guy – probably long since dead – who was at every AGM I ever attended. He had a standard line: “I turn up to this AGM for three reasons. To hear about good profit growth. To hear about a good dividend increase. And to have a good lunch. Today you’ve given us none of them!”

    You tend not to get any perks if you hold shares in a nominee account. I used to get an M&S shareholder discount through a nominee account, but that’s long since stopped.

  3. Is that worth it? By the time you’ve paid a rail fare, you could have just gone to a local restaurant.

    (like blokes who go to Tallin for stag weekends and tell you how cheap the beer is when they’ve spent £100 on the flight)

  4. I used to go to some when I lived and worked in London but that’s over 20 years ago so probably tells you zilch about what they are like today. What I can tell you is that they varied and the firms which were doing well generally spent more: I remember one company moving up from sandwiches and nuts to a sit-down meal with wine. I have been to a couple with no food at all.

  5. The Pedant-General

    @john77

    Is that a bit like the “company with atrium” early warning signs of a company hitting the buffers?

  6. No, never attended a shareholders one. I do look out for Sisters of ever redeeming grace and mercy (chicago)(not exact name) who can be relied upon to regularly table a motion in a particular company. Secretly in the hope they will be of the “Sweat our capital baby!” variety but they never are.

  7. @ Pedant-General
    Not in that case – the company had moved from recovery phase to being reasonable confident of ongoing prosperity.
    I do see your point: however this was not an example of it.

  8. “The thought being, well, does spending £10 on the one share mean you get a reasonable lunch every year, if you actually attend?”

    Misapplication of economies here Timmy, maybe? The cost of the lunches isn’t the share price – assuming the financial return on your portfolio of ‘lunch-bearing’ stocks is pretty much the same as the rest of your stocks, then the reallocation of your assets in such a way as to provide you with lunch is near-enough free.

    The true cost of lunch is having to get yourself to the meeting (as BOM4 points out), but then even worse, having to sit through it…

  9. My last AGMs were also 10 or so years ago, as a board member and then shareholder of a housing association. Pretty decent cold buffet lunch. Technically, as a mutual, every tenant was entitled to attend. When times were good and the government were throwing money at us we even had a packed AGM in the Cutler’s Hall with invited speakers.

  10. One of my favourites from an old company I worked for and was in the share scheme is the time a Union tabled a question at AGM along the lines of as land mines weren’t technically illegal (at the time) and were profitable why wasn’t the defence division making them anymore and threatening it’s members with potential layoffs and depriving shareholders of a profitable return.
    The board declined to answer unfortunately

  11. As a capitalist shareholding student: When Big Cos held regional AGMs (C&W were good) I often attended for a free breakfast, coffee break, lunch and networking

  12. MyBurningEars said:
    “Misapplication of economies here Timmy, maybe? … The true cost of lunch is having to get yourself to the meeting (as BOM4 points out), but then even worse, having to sit through it…”

    Yes, but doesn’t Tim do bits of financial journalism? Share tipster sort of thing? In which case that’s work if he can get something worth writing about out of it.

  13. Bloke on M4 said:
    “like blokes who go to Tallin for stag weekends and tell you how cheap the beer is when they’ve spent £100 on the flight”

    That’s still possibly financially worthwhile. If you’re comparing to London prices that’s probably less than 25 pints over a weekend.

    (and it was probably less than £100 anyway, although it’ll be much more in future if the coronapanic and greenies get their way)

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