Shareholdersâ€™ Voting at General Meetings: Evidence from the Netherlands
AbstractWe study annual general meetings of shareholders in the Netherlands. The Dutch corporate governance system is characterized by relatively concentrated shareholdings and large stakes owned by pension funds, banks and insurance companies. The legal protection of shareholders is poor due to takeover defenses, such as certificates, which deprive shareholders from their voting rights. An analysis of the minutes of 245 general meetings in the period 1998-2002 reveals that about 30% of the shareholders is present at the meeting. This is low in comparison with shareholder turn-out in Anglo-Saxon countries. Management sponsors all proposals at the meeting and only 9 out of 1,583 proposals are rejected or withdrawn. Multivariate analyses of the incidence and extent of voting against a proposal show that firm size and the type of proposal are important determinants. Overall, our findings suggest that shareholders in the Netherlands have hardly any influence on management.
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corporate governance; meetings;
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