6 questions at 2023 AFIC AGM

October 11, 2023

Here is the text of the 6 written questions lodged at the 2023 AFIC hybrid AGM held on October 3, along with some video grabs via Twitter. Two of them weren't asked, unfortunately.

1. Will you disclose the proxy votes before the debate on each resolution so shareholders can ask questions about the reasons if there have been any protest votes? Also, why not disclose the proxy position to the ASX with the formal addresses to offer more timely disclosure to the market, like many other companies now do?

Answer: company secretary said they comply with the law and he wasn't aware market practice had moved. At least the proxies were on the screen for the rem report when he said that.

2. Well done for maintaining your ban on investing in specialist gambling companies and for dumping pokies giant Endeavour Group shortly after it was demerged by Woolworths. It has fallen almost 20% since we exited so well done. From a shareholder return point of view, the only major miss has been Aristocrat and thank goodness we never owned Star Entertainment. Could candidate David Peevor please comment on his personal view on this unwritten policy and how he reconciles that with committing to new multi million dollar Bet365 contracts when chair of Cricket Australia.

Answer: not asked.

3. When disclosing the outcome of voting on both resolutions today, including David Peever's re-election, could you please advise the ASX how many shareholders voted for and against each item, similar to what happens with a scheme of arrangement? This will provide a better gauge of retail shareholder sentiment on all resolutions and was a voluntary disclosure initiative adopted by the likes of Metcash, Altium, Dexus, Webjet, Tabcorp and Myer over the past two years. Also, what steps did you take this year to get the participation rate up on the usual 5% and roughly how many shareholders are you expecting will participate?

Answer: not asked.

4. AFIC continues to resist best practice by not disclosing how it votes at AGMs at the 80+ listed companies which it invests in. Given that most industry funds now publicly disclose their voting records, why don't we also move to adopt best practice? In broad terms, roughly how many directors are we expecting to vote against in calendar 2023 and how many remuneration items will we be opposing? Are both categories under 10%?

Answer: chair did the usual "we do our best work in private" defence and stressed they release aggregate figures. See video of exchange via Twitter.

5. The chair has been on the board for 18 years and chairman since 2018. Why doesn't this board have a deputy chair or lead independent director who can be directly responsible for leading the annual performance review of the chair and manage chair succession planning. How was the chair performance review conducted this year and does the chair believe their are multiple potential successors as chair currently serving on the board? When is succession likely to take place and could a director other than the chair also respond to this question?

Answer: get with the program, Stephen. AFIC had already announced that Craig Drummond was succeeding John at the conclusion of the meeting. Watch Craig's warm send off via Twitter.

6. Thank you for offering shareholders a hybrid AGM this year and will you commit to keep doing this in future years to maximise shareholder participation? Big companies like Bank of Queensland, Bega Cheese, BHP, Boral, Brickworks, Commonwealth Bank, Flight Centre, Fortescue Metals, Harvey Norman, Metcash, Origin Energy, Premier Investments, Ramsay Healthcare, Rio Tinto, Seven Group, Soul Pattinson, Super Retail, Whitehaven Coal and Worley all banned online questions and voting in 2022, so well done for showing them up. What was the experience like from your end?

Answer: the question was edited down to not name all the naughty dinosaurs but an assurance was provided that hybrids would continue. See video via Twitter.