Relations with shareholders

Communication with shareholders

Being a major institutional investor, the Company is very aware of the importance of maintaining good relations with its shareholders, as well as with its debt investors. Discussions are held regularly with major shareholders and a programme of meetings took place throughout the year. In addition, Prudential regularly holds a conference for investors to provide further insight on selected areas of the business. In 2012, the conference was held in New York during November.

The latest analysts’ and brokers’ reports on the Company and the sector are circulated regularly to Board members to develop further their knowledge and understanding of external views about the Company. The Chairman and the non-executive directors also provided feedback to the Board on topics raised with them by major shareholders. Major shareholders and debt investors are welcome to meet with newly appointed directors, or any of the directors generally.

The Group maintains a corporate website containing a wide range of relevant information for private and institutional investors, including the Group’s financial calendar. The shareholder information section contains further details which may be of interest to shareholders.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will be held in the Churchill Auditorium at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE on 16 May 2013 at 11.00am.

The Annual General Meeting is an important forum for both institutional and private shareholders and the Company encourages all its shareholders to vote. Shareholders are given the opportunity during annual general meetings to put questions to the Board on matters relating to the Group’s operations and performance.

The Company has continued its practice of calling a poll on all resolutions and the voting results, including all proxies lodged prior to the meeting, are displayed at the meeting and published on the Company’s website. This practice provides shareholders present with sufficient information regarding the level of support and opposition to each resolution and ensures all votes cast either at the meeting or through proxies are included in the result.

Details of the 2012 AGM, including the major items discussed at the meeting and the results of the voting, can be found on the Company’s website. All directors in office at the time of the Annual General Meeting held on 17 May 2012 attended the AGM, with the exception of Michael Garrett, who was unable to do so due to a prior commitment.

In accordance with the relevant legislation, shareholders holding 5 per cent or more of the fully paid up issued share capital of the Company, are able to require the directors to hold a general meeting. If the shareholders’ request identifies a resolution to be moved at the meeting, the resolution must be included in the notice of meeting. Where such a request has been duly lodged with the Company, the directors are obliged to call a general meeting within 21 days of becoming subject to the request and must set a date for the meeting not more than 28 days from the date of the issue of the notice. Shareholders can also require the Company to circulate a statement of not more than 1,000 words on the subject matter of the resolution. Shareholders need not cover the costs of circulating such statements where the requests relate to the annual general meeting of a public company and provided sufficient requests to require the circulation are received prior to the financial year end preceding the meeting. Written shareholder requests should be addressed to the Group Company Secretary at the registered office.

Company constitution

The Company is governed by the Companies Act 2006, other applicable legislation and regulation as well as by provisions of its Articles of Association. The Memorandum and Articles of Association are available on the Group’s website.

Any change to the Articles must be approved by special resolution of the shareholders in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act 2006. There were no changes to the Company’s constitutional documents during 2012.

Share capital

The Company’s issued share capital as at 31 December 2012, which is set out in note H11, consisted of 2,557,242,352 (2011: 2,548,039,330) ordinary shares of 5 pence each, all fully paid up and listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Subject to applicable local securities law, the Company’s shares may be registered on the main register in the UK or the Company’s branch registers in Ireland or Hong Kong. The number of accounts on the share register at 31 December 2012 was 60,522 (2011: 63,338).

The Company also maintains secondary listings on the New York Stock Exchange in the form of American Depositary Receipts which are referenced to ordinary shares on the main UK register, under a depositary agreement with J.P. Morgan, and on the Singapore Stock Exchange in the form of interests in shares, which are referenced to the shares on the Hong Kong register under a depository agreement with the Central Depository (Pte) Limited (the ‘CDP’).

The Company has maintained a sufficiency of public float throughout the reporting period as required by the Hong Kong Listing Rules.

A number of dividend waivers are in place and these relate to shares issued but not allocated under the Group’s employee share plans. These shares are held by the Trustees and will, in due course, be used to satisfy requirements under the Group’s employee share plans.

Rights and obligations

The rights and obligations attaching to the Company’s shares are set out in full in the Company’s Articles of Association. There are currently no voting restrictions on the ordinary shares, all of which are fully paid, and each share carries one vote on a poll. If votes are cast on a show of hands, each shareholder present in person or by proxy, or in the case of a corporation, each of its duly authorised corporate representatives, has one vote except that if a proxy is appointed by more than one member, the proxy has one vote for and one vote against if instructed by one or more members to vote for the resolution and by one or more members to vote against the resolution.

Where, under an employee share plan operated by the Company, participants are the beneficial owners of the shares but not the registered owners, the voting rights are normally exercisable by the registered owner in accordance with the relevant plan rules. Trustees may vote at their discretion, but do not vote on any unawarded shares held as surplus assets.

As at 12 March 2013, Trustees held 0.34 per cent of the issued share capital of the Company under the various plans in operation.

Rights to dividends under the various schemes are set out in note I4.

Restrictions on transfer

In accordance with English company law, shares may be transferred by an instrument of transfer or through an electronic system (currently CREST) and transfer is not restricted except that the directors may in certain circumstances refuse to register transfers of shares, but only if such refusal does not prevent dealings in the shares from taking place on an open and proper basis. If the directors make use of that power, they must send the transferee notice of the refusal within two months.

Certain restrictions may be imposed from time to time by applicable laws and regulations (for example, insider trading laws) and pursuant to the Listing Rules of both the Financial Services Authority, and any successor organisation, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as well as Prudential’s own share dealing rules, whereby directors and certain employees of the Company require the approval of the Company to deal in the Company’s ordinary shares.

Some of the Company’s employee share plans include restrictions on transfer of shares while the shares are subject to the plan. All directors are required to obtain a number of qualification shares within one year of appointment, which they would also be expected to retain under guidelines approved by the Board and as described in the 2012 implementation of remuneration policy page of the Directors' remuneration report.

Significant shareholdings

The Company had received notification of interests in the shares of Prudential plc as at 31 December 2012 and in accordance with Rule 5.1.2 R of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the Financial Services Authority, from Legal & General Group plc of 3.99 per cent, from Norges Bank of an interest in 4.03 per cent, from BlackRock, Inc. of an interest in 5.08 per cent and from Capital Group International Inc., of an interest in 10.39 per cent. No further notifications have been received between the end of 2012 and the date of this report.

Authority to issue shares

The directors require authority from shareholders in relation to the issue of shares by the Company. Whenever shares are issued the Company has to offer the shares to existing shareholders pro rata to their holdings unless it has been given authority by shareholders to issue shares without offering them first to existing shareholders. The Company seeks authority from its shareholders on an annual basis to issue shares up to a maximum amount and to issue up to 5 per cent of its issued share capital without observing pre-emption rights, in line with relevant regulations and best practice. Dis-application of statutory pre-emption procedures is also sought for rights issues. The Company’s existing authorities to issue shares and to do so without observing pre-emption rights are due to expire at the end of this year’s Annual General Meeting. An ordinary resolution and a special resolution to approve the renewal of these authorities respectively will be put to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 16 May 2013.

Details of shares issued during 2012 and 2011 are given in note H11.

In accordance with the terms of a waiver granted by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Company confirms that it complies with the applicable law and regulation in the UK in relation to the holding of shares in treasury and with the conditions of the waiver in connection with the purchase of own shares and any treasury shares it may hold.

Authority to purchase own shares

The directors also require authority from shareholders in relation to the purchase of own shares by the Company. The Company seeks authority by special resolution on an annual basis for the buyback of its own shares in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Companies Act 2006 and other related guidance. The Company has not made use of that authority since it was last granted at its Annual General Meeting in 2012. This existing authority is due to expire at the end of this year’s Annual General Meeting. A special resolution to approve the renewal of this authority will be put to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 16 May 2013.

Model code for securities transactions by directors

The Company confirms that it has adopted a code of conduct regarding securities transactions by directors on terms no less exacting than required by Appendix 10 to the Hong Kong Listing Rules, and that the directors of the Company have complied with this code of conduct throughout the period.

US corporate governance and regulations

As a result of the listing of its securities on the New York Stock Exchange, the Company is required to comply with the relevant provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002 (the ‘Act’) as they apply to foreign private issuers and has adopted procedures to ensure this is the case.

In particular, in relation to the provisions of Section 302 of that Act, which covers disclosure controls and procedures, a Disclosure Committee has been established reporting to the Group Chief Executive, chaired by the Chief Financial Officer and comprising members of senior management. The objectives of this Committee are to:

  • Assist the Group Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer in designing, implementing and periodically evaluating the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures;
  • Monitor compliance with the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures;
  • Review and provide advice to the Group Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer with regard to the scope and content of all public disclosures made by the Company which are of material significance to the market or investors; and
  • Review and consider, and where applicable follow up on, matters raised by other components of the disclosure process. These may include, to the extent they are relevant to the disclosure process, any matters to be raised with the Audit Committee, the internal auditors or the external auditor on the Company’s internal controls.

In discharging these objectives, the Committee helps to support the certifications by the Group Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer of the effectiveness of disclosure procedures and controls required by Section 302 of the Act.

The provisions of Section 404 of the Act require the Company’s management to report on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting in its annual report on Form 20-F, which is filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. To comply with this requirement to report on the effectiveness of internal control, the Group has documented and tested its internal controls over financial reporting in the format required by the Act. The annual assessment and related report from the external auditor will be included in the Group’s annual report on Form 20-F.

In addition, the Disclosure Committee evaluates whether or not a particular matter requires disclosure to the market, taking into account relevant regulations and reviews all forward looking statements.

 
 

Reporting tools

Save pages of the report
to download, print or email

View your pages

Feedback

Your comments and ideas help us
to shape future reports to suit your needs

Tell us your views