Getting the Board and the CEO ready for the AGM

AGM speeches are not what they were. Volatility almost everywhere and in most sectors; tightened or non-existent credit; reduced or reducing asset valuations; uncertain domestic and international markets; a financial cliff; a probing press; picky customers.

Delivering the AGM speech used to be much more fun. Shares used to increase in value, dividends went up, the champagne was being chilled. Those were the days…

So what needs to go in the AGM speech in 2013?

Shareholders and commentators need to hear evidence that the company and its leaderships fully understands and can articulate its past, present and projected financial performance.  Boards will be questioned on growth prospects, costs, debt, capital management, human resources and the general financial future of the company.

The AGM should give comfort, build confidence, indicate direction, demonstrate control and reassure and build stock valuations. The AGM speech, and the Question and Answer sessions that follow, often represent the most important day in the calendar. If the Chief Exec and other Board members perform badly, it can be bad for the company. It is always bad for those who perform badly.

15 Basic Questions for shareholders to ask at the AGM

Most issues should be addressed during the AGM speech, reducing the pressure questions. These are some basic questions or themes for shareholders to ask/raise. Board members need to know their stuff and be prepared. 

  1. Current financial position? Clear, truthful and easily digestible figures.
  2. Has the Board checked its figures – how was it done, show how it was robust?
  3. How has the Board minimised/limited/managed possible exchange rate fluctuations?
  4.  Does the Board’s plan for the future need working capital – how will it raise it?
  5. Has the Board identified under-performing assets, operations or divisions? What are they doing about them? Keep, fix, sell? Strategic importance?
  6. Inventory levels and annual turnarounds? Comparisons with industry averages/competitors?
  7. Outline credit management, debt chasing, early warning alarms.
  8. Recently checked reliability and expected trends of bank guarantees and credit limits. Implications and remedial action? How recent?
  9. Accuracy of current asset valuations? Remedial action?
  10. Have last years investment plans been reviewed where/if the financials, liquidity, debt, valuations etc have changed?
  11. Relationship with bankers/lenders, the media, analysts, rating agencies etc?
  12. Any scary covenants close to being breached – how are they monitored?
  13. Debt risk management: explain and demonstrate? Issues arising? Actions taken?
  14. Review/consolidation/support of supply chain?
  15. Any planned redundancies? Costs? Sufficient? Measures to retain key staff? New pension legislation – impact and cost implications?

If you have an AGM coming up, I can help you prepare for your AGM speech and for the Q and A session.

Are you looking for a new job? Do you know someone who is? Have you got a job interview coming up?
 
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Get in touch:
Text / call at +44 7775 504299
Email: peter@peterbotting.com
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Hi Peter
Thank you again for your help in getting me through the Parliamentary Assessment Board and getting selected for a seat first time of asking. So many potential candidates have to tear around the country repeating that process before perhaps securing a winnable seat. I know that I would not have done anywhere near so well if it wasn’t for you.

Years ago I was told that like when taking medication, it was better to respond than to react. Building up an armoury of stories and responses helped me do just that, responding in a way that allowed me to answer the unasked questions as well rather than simply batting back the original question. The key lesson for me was to have succinct responses that go beyond simple platitudes.

The simple question “Why do you want to be an MP?” has started a process across my borough of ensuring that our local council candidates each have a positive vision to share rather than simply to beat the other guy. The former leads to the latter but follows a different, more productive path.

You certainly put me through my paces but by the time of the interviews I felt ready for pretty much anything.

….

I look forward to seeing you soon.
Paul

Paul Scully. Conservative PPC Sutton and Cheam