Have your say with shareholder voting
Help shape the future of companies listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) by taking part in shareholder votes through Sharesies.
Voting is a powerful way to have your voice heard as an investor, and help influence the future of a company. That’s why we’re stoked to give Sharesies investors access to even more of the benefits of owning shares with the launch of shareholder voting on Sharesies—starting with companies listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX).
Hold up, what’s a shareholder vote?
A shareholder vote usually takes place at a company’s annual shareholders’ meeting—that’s when a company’s leadership gets together to present the company's performance and future strategy to shareholders.
Occasionally, a shareholder vote might take place at another time of the year if a company is dealing with a significant matter that needs shareholder approval. We’ll decide on a vote-by-vote basis if we’ll give access to these kinds of votes.
During a vote, shareholders get to have their say on a number of ‘resolutions’—these are what the company wants to take a vote on.
Resolutions can be things like:
electing directors to the company’s board
confirming pay packages for executive officers (like the CEO and CFO)
approving future corporate actions (like acquisitions or mergers).
When can I start voting?
First up is Air New Zealand’s (NZX:AIR) vote taking place at its annual shareholders’ meeting at 2 PM (NZST) on Thursday 22 September 2022. If you hold AIR shares at 5 PM (NZST) Friday 16 September 2022 through Sharesies, you’ll be eligible to cast your votes in advance. We’ll email you if you’re eligible to take part, and let you know when you need to vote by.
Then from Wednesday 28 September 2022, we’ll be rolling out shareholder voting for all NZX-listed companies on Sharesies.
To see when you might next be able to have your say, check out the NZX’s upcoming meetings. As a taster, here are a few shareholders’ meetings coming up over the next few weeks:
Air New Zealand (AIR)—22 September 2022
Genesis Energy (GNE)—14 October 2022
Chorus (CNU)—26 October 2022
Heartland Bank (HGH)—8 November 2022
At the moment, shareholder voting for companies listed on Australian or US exchanges isn’t available on Sharesies. But, we’re looking into how we can make this happen, so watch this space!
How will voting work?
A few days before an NZX-listed company is due to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting, we’ll let you know by email if you’re eligible to take part in its shareholder vote through Sharesies.
If you’re eligible to take part in a vote, you’ll be able to cast your votes by going to the vote-holding company in your Portfolio, and tapping ‘Vote now’ at the top of the screen.
For each resolution, you’ll typically have three options to choose from: for, against, or abstain.
For—you’re for the resolution.
Against—you’re against the resolution.
Abstain—you’re neither ‘for’ or ‘against’ the resolution.
You’ll need to vote on every resolution before voting closes for your votes to count.
If you want to change any of your votes after they’ve been cast, you’ll need to withdraw your votes and recast them before voting closes. Keep in mind that it may not always be possible to recast your votes.
Because your shares are held on bare trust, your votes will be collected and submitted to the registry on your behalf before the shareholders’ meeting takes place—in investing lingo, this is known as a ‘proxy vote’.
Casting your votes is entirely optional! If you’re eligible to vote, but choose not to, the proxy at the shareholders’ meeting may cast your votes on your behalf. To find out how they may vote, read the Notice of Meeting released by the company.
Own shares to be eligible to vote
Your eligibility to take part in a vote usually depends on whether you own shares on a particular day set by the company—this is called the ‘record date’. Because of T+2 settlement, you’ll need to have bought shares at least two trading days before the record date to be eligible to take part in a vote.
For example, if the record date for a vote is Wednesday 14 September 2022, you’d be eligible to take part if you owned shares by no later than 5 PM (NZST) on Monday 12 September 2022.
Eligible Kids Accounts are able to take part in votes too, just like any other shareholder.
Voting time frames can be tight
We stick to the eligibility dates announced by the company holding the vote. This is so that all investors know what day they need to hold shares by if they want to take part, and lessens the chance of missing out—either because they sold their shares too early or bought them too late.
But, this also means that we’ve got limited control over the voting time frame. You might have only 1–3 days to cast your votes—that’s the period between us letting you know you’re eligible to vote and the time voting closes.
We’ll do our best to give you as much of a heads-up (and time to vote) as we can. We’re also looking at ways to give you more visibility of upcoming votes you may be eligible to take part in.
Fractional shares = fractional votes
Typically, you’ll get 1 vote for every whole share you own (or in proportion to the fractional amount of shares you own). This ratio can vary depending on the ‘class’ of your shares.
For example, if you owned 100 shares in a company, you’d get 100 votes. And if you voted ‘for’ to all resolutions in a vote, it’d be recorded as 100 ‘for’ votes toward each resolution.
Fractional votes are pooled together based on the voting choice. For example, if you owned 6.2 shares and voted ‘for’ a resolution, 6 votes will be added to the ‘for’ total and 0.2 will be added to a pool of other fractional shares that voted ‘for’. Then, if required, we’ll round up the fractional vote to the closest whole number.
Tell us what you think 🍍
We’re really excited to be opening up shareholder voting, and giving you more of a say on how the company’s you invest in are run.
And we’re just getting started—so if you’ve got questions or feedback, we’d love to hear them! You can let us know by flicking an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok, now for the legal bit
Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.