12 questions asked at the 2021 Amcil AGM

October 7, 2021

The following 12 written questions were lodged online by shareholder Stephen Mayne during the AGM of LIC Amcil held on November 7, 2021.

1. After 20 years, what is the point of Amcil given our market cap is still below $400 million? Wouldn't it be just more efficient to merge with stablemates AFIC, Mirrabooka or Djerriwarrh. Also, please comment on why you think Soul Patts took over Milton.

Response was that all have slightly different investment strategies.

2. The CVs of directors matter. I'm concerned that one of our directors, Siobhan McKenna, is the chairman of Sky News Australia, which continues to pump our climate denialist rubbish every night of the week. Could the chair please spell out Amcil's position on climate change and could Siobhan McKenna please comment on why she remains as chair of Sky News Australia when its climate denialist campaigning conflicts with Amcil's position, plus the climate position of other boards she sits on, particularly Woolworths.

Investment boss Geoff Driver paraphrased this down to just ask the chair to comment on Amcil's position on climate change. We didn't hear a peep our of Siobhon all meeting and it wasn't clear whether she even attended the AGM.

3. Woolworths is listed as our 9th biggest holding. Have we retained our investment in Endeavour Group since the demerger on July 1 or are we following the AFIC stable's long term un-written policy of not owning gambling stocks.

Thankfully, they have sold the lot to avoid any association with poker machines.

4. Overall, the level of director investment in Amcil is excellent. Even my favourite director Siobhon McKenna, has an impressive holding worth $906,000. Well done Siobhon. Could new director Jodie Auster explain why she hasn't bought any shares yet and when she plans to do so? After 8 months on the Amcil board, this should have been actioned? Please explain?

Jodie gave a campaign speech and then took on this question live. She wanted to get formally elected by shareholders before buying in.

5. Could Siobhan L McKenna please explain how she has the time to attend to her Amcil responsibilities when she is executive chair of Foxtel, Fox Sports and Sky News Australia, a director of Nova Entertainment and reportedly one of the potential successors to Gordon Cairns as chair of Woolworths. This seems like a ridiculous workload and doesn't make sense. How many hours a week is she devoting to all these different gigs?

Was pared back to just “a shareholder is querying Siobhon's workload” and the chair responded by saying what a great director she was.

6. Most serious public companies leave an archive of their AGM webcast on their websites, yet there is nothing on the Amcil website related to past AGMs. Could you please undertake to publish a full copy of the 2021 AGM webcast on your website, along with a full transcript, something which other companies like Woolworths, Crown Resorts and ASX now do as a matter of course.

Yes, we already do the webcast archive and will add a transcript as well.

7. Congratulations to Rupert Myer on finally winning support from the other Amcil directors to take on the chair role after serving 20 years on the board. What took him so long? Also, will Rupert undertake to resign from the board of DUI given it is a competing LIC associated with a different stable, the old UBS/Potter Warburg family. Amcil is from the House of Were, the biggest Melbourne competitor to Potters. Surely Rupert recognises you can't have a foot in each camp. Or is this just one big Melbourne LIC club?

Once again, question wasn't read out but just summarised and pared right back, although at least shareholders were told that he has now resigned from DUI.

8. Are you active stewards of our company by diligently voting our holdings on all resolutions? Who provides our proxy advice and why won't you make our voting record public to shareholders as industry funds are now required to do? Can you cite any examples of board recommendations that you have or will be opposing in the current AGM season, or during 2020? When it comes to corporate voting, please prove Amcil is not just a rubber stamp patsy for the companies we invest in.

We take advice from CGI Glass Lewis, always vote our stock, won't be disclosing this but we take accountability seriously.

9. Did any of the directors know Jodie Auster before she was offered a board seat. Did we use a head hunting firm to source our latest director and did we advertise it on the AICD website or in other public forums? Was it a thorough public, professional, independent, transparent process or was it a case of who the board knew? Could both the chair and candidate Auster address this question.

Chair said no one knew Jodie and they looked at multiple directors, but no recruitment firm was used. Jodie said she had fairly formal interviews with individual directors and then was interviewed by the full Amcil board. That's good.

10. How are we dealing with our former chairman and largest shareholder, the 84 year old legend Bruce Ballantine Teele, now that he has retired. Does he still have an office on our floor at 101 Collins St? Does he receive any special treatment or access? Have we offered him the opportunity to nominate a director given that he owns more than 50 million shares?

We talk to him from time to time but there is no special treatment.

11. Bruce Teele owns more than 50m shares but there were only 25m proxies in favour of the remuneration report. Is Bruce Teele backing his old board or not? Did he not vote on any resolutions today, including this constitutional amendment?

Not asked.

12. Why are we afraid of a partial takeover bid by making this constitutional change? Why don't we get involved with M&A?

This protection against partial takeovers is standard practice and we don't want to be distracted by hiring lawyers, accountants and the like to pursue M&A opportunities.