I had a new KBC experience today, after being a lifelong customer and having worked for 5 years at the bank-insurance group. This time not as a client or as an employee, but as a (co-)owner of the company. The annual general meeting of shareholders was organized in the company’s Molenbeek1 headquarters this morning.
Entering the room where the meeting took place, all shareholders got an electronic voting device with a card specifying their number of shares. As a listed company, tens of thousands of investors own KBC shares. However, the number of stock holders was pretty modest. The audience consisted mainly of pensioners who considered this meeting as a little trip. The rest of the room was filled with journalists on one side and students on the other. Probably their professor had had the bright idea to show them the boring stuff in their text books in practice.
In addition to the ‘regular’ people, former chief executives and major stock holders were also present. I won’t name anyone to respect their privacy. But it you want to see the top of Flemish businessmen in real life, I have one tip for you. Buy a share of KBC and come to the shareholder meeting of 2017. Maybe you can even talk to them at the reception afterwards 🙂
I can be brief about the actual content of the meeting. CEO Johan Thijs presented the results of KBC Group. He gave the audience some details about the individual markets that the company operates in and their contributions to the bottom line. There were no big secrets, everybody can read the annual report online. There was one thing that stuck with me: bank taxes (independent from the actual profit!) are an important cost of doing business.
After the presentation of Mr. Thijs, the meeting was led by Thomas Leysen, the chairman of the board of directors. The shareholders could vote about the proposals concerning the remuneration and the appointment of the board. Over 300 million shares were represented in the room, with each share giving right to a single vote. I will let you guess how important my votes were 😛
All items on the agenda were approved. Apparently Mr. Thijs’ presentation was that good, that nobody felt the need to ask questions at the end. The general meeting only took one and a half hours. After the reception I went home to continue working on my book.