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General Shareholder Meetings

We can help you make your voice heard in your shareholder meetings. 

Casting your vote and receiving company updates are often done at shareholder meetings, so you need to be aware how these work to exercise your rights.

The law around shareholder meetings has changed with the legal requirement to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) gone, unless they are required by a company’s articles, and the old term 'Extraordinary General Meeting' (EGM) being replaced with the term 'General Meeting'.

A General Meeting is simply a meeting of shareholders and 21 days’ notice must be given to shareholders, but this can be reduced to 14 days, or increased to 28 days, in certain situations.

Those AGMs that are still held are generally used to appoint company auditors and ‘lay before’ shareholders a copy of the last years’ accounts. Shareholders are not asked to approve the accounts - they are merely provided with a copy - although they can ask questions on matters in the accounts.

There may be additional matters that require a vote and the notice calling the meeting should tell you this. There are now provisions which set out a basic level of detail that must be included on each notice.

Typically each shareholder has one vote, however ‘bigger’ shareholders can influence proceedings by demanding a ‘poll vote’, where the total number of shares held decides the outcome. You don’t have to physically attend a General Meeting to cast your vote – this can be done by proxy via a form and meetings are now often held 'electronically'.

In private limited companies, shareholder resolutions are often passed using the ‘written resolution procedure’ and both the board and shareholders can propose the passing of resolutions in this way.

Under the written resolution procedure, resolutions should be circulated to all eligible shareholders at the same time and are passed on reaching the necessary number of votes irrespective of whether all shareholders have had a chance to weigh in, so it’s key to stay involved with proceedings.