Australian Shareholders Association
|Focus||Protect - Learn - Connect - Shareholder rights, advocacy and education|
Ian Curry (Chairman) Silvana Eccles (National Operations Manager)Anna Lau (Head of Research)
The Australian Shareholders' Association (ASA) is an independent, member-funded, not-for-profit organisation that has grown to be the major autonomous body representing Australian retail investors.
The ASA's main mission is 'Standing up for shareholders'.
Since 1960 the ASA has been protecting and advancing the interests of investors and providing a strong collective voice for shareholders. It does this by advancing the interests of retail shareholders with government, industry, the markets and individual companies - monitoring companies with the aim of improving both financial performance and corporate governance. The ASA has successfully raised the standard of corporate governance in Australian companies and continues to press for improvements in transparency and accountability.
Each year the ASA monitors the performance of Australia's top 200 ASX-listed companies. The ASA's company monitoring objective is to positively influence outcomes for retail shareholders. The ASA wants all shareholders to be treated equally and advocates for change where change is due.
The ASA helps members to improve their investment knowledge and financial literacy with free member meetings, discussion groups and cost-effective education across Australia, including many regional areas. By providing independent research, governance information and well-priced education programs the ASA helps members develop practical skills to improve their investing knowledge.
The ASA advocates for shareholders by attending company annual general meetings (AGMs) and engaging with government and industry bodies on behalf of shareholders. Based on engagement with company boards and independent analysis of annual reports and financial statements, company monitors prepare Voting Intentions (VIs) consistent with ASA policy. Company monitors represent the ASA at AGMs, where issues such as executive remuneration, company performance, shareholder rights and director qualifications/workloads are discussed, and proxies voted. AGM Reports are prepared by the company monitors and are available online so members can see how Australia's leading companies are performing, and how effectively they're managed.
All shareholders are welcome to nominate the ASA as their proxy. The ASA then votes on your behalf at the company's AGM. Last year ASA company monitors voted more than $5billion worth of shares.
The ASA publishes a monthly magazine called EQUITY, holds regular member meetings across Australia and organises a biennial national conference.
Industry Groups and Committees
The ASA represents shareholder and member interests on the following industry groups and committees:
- ATO Personal Tax Advisory
- ASIC Consumer Advisory Panel
- ASIC Corporations & Market Advisory Committee
- Financial Reporting Council
- ASX Corporate Governance Council
- Securities Registrars Association of Australia
The ASA has proactively promoted good corporate governance and advanced shareholder interests by:
- Consistently advocating for regulatory reform (ie Two Strikes) regarding remuneration excesses in Australian companies, and voting against poorly structured schemes.
- Arguing through a long, consistent and vocal campaign in the media, by our voting intentions and especially on the floor of AGMs, for companies to move to longer-term incentive schemes.
- Being the world's largest retail shareholder group voting the greatest number of proxies.
- Successfully negotiating with Australian companies to increase the capped share purchase plan offered to retail shareholders.
- Successfully persuading companies to send reminder emails to shareholders in the final week of a capital raising offer, substantially increasing participation.
- Being the dominant voice at AGMs and, along with the $5B+ in undirected proxies received each year, being in a unique position to influence boards and companies on behalf of shareholders. A majority of ASX-200 Chairs meet with ASA representatives prior to their AGM, allowing the ASA to make important connections and enabling influence over a company's governance and board performance.
- By introducing a workload policy of 5 equivalent directorships for directors and no external directorships for CEOs.
- Opposing ASX changes that would make it easier for smaller companies to list and for small to medium listed companies from being able to raise 25%of issued capital without shareholder approval.
The ASA had 6,000 members in 2013.
The ASA is overseen by an experienced Board of Directors comprising a Chairman and five directors. All Board members work on a pro bono basis.
- Ian Curry (2012–present)
- Helen Dent (2009-2012)
- Ian Curry (2007–08)
- Stephen Matthews (2005–07)
- John Curry (2003–05)