Walk the talk: shareholders' soft engagement at annual general meetings

  • The right to ask questions and voice their opinions at annual general meetings (AGMs) represents one of the few avenues for shareholders to communicate directly and publicly with the firm’s management. Examining AGM transcripts of U.S. companies between 2007 and 2021, we find that shareholders actively express their concerns about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in accordance with their specific relationship with the company. Further, they are also demonstrably more vocal about ESG issues at AGMs of firms with poor sustainability performance. What is more, we show that this soft engagement translates into a more negative tone which, in turn, results in lower approval rates for management proposals. Shareholders' soft engagement at AGMs is hence an effective way to "walk the talk".

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Alix AuzepyORCiD, Christina E. BannierORCiDGND, Fabio Martin
Series (Serial Number):CFS working paper series (No. 689)
Publisher:Center for Financial Studies
Place of publication:Frankfurt, M.
Document Type:Working Paper
Date of Publication (online):2023/02/23
Date of first Publication:2023/02/23
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/02/27
Tag:ESG; annual general meeting; shareholder engagement; textual analysis
Page Number:56
Institutes:Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Center for Financial Studies (CFS)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
JEL-Classification:G Financial Economics / G2 Financial Institutions and Services / G23 Pension Funds; Other Private Financial Institutions
G Financial Economics / G3 Corporate Finance and Governance / G34 Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
G Financial Economics / G3 Corporate Finance and Governance / G39 Other
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht