Trust and Shareholder Voting

Voting at annual general shareholder meetings (AGMs) has been shown to be valuable. This makes perfect sense as voting gives shareholders a say on important corporate decisions, such as the composition of the board of directors and the approval of mergers and acquisitions. It also enables shareholders to express their support or dissent of the current management. Surprisingly though, voter turnout at AGMs across the world is relatively low with an average of slightly less than 60 percent of voting shares. Nevertheless, there is variation across countries with voter turnout ranging from a low of 41 percent in New Zealand to a high of 100 percent in Cyprus. In addition, the average approval rates for management-initiated proposals range between 84 percent and 100 percent, indicating that shareholders are less likely to show dissent to the firm’s management in some countries compared to others. What explains these variations across countries? ... Read more

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