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What are "Shareholder Communications," Anyway?


A quick guide to knowing what’s in your inbox. So, you’ve started investing! Congratulations, and welcome to the mildly confusing world of personal finance. Part of our mission here at Say is to make it all a little less confusing for shareholders. Which is why you’ve started receiving these emails from Say and your broker-dealer. What do they have to do with your investments? Essentially, the companies where you own shares are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to send you certain communications regarding your investments. These emails usually read like Ambien-grade legalese, which we’d like to change since they’re actually important for understanding your rights as a shareholder. So before you go to click delete, we've compiled this introductory guide to help you translate what these emails actually mean for you and the companies you own. An annual meeting: What is it? Each public company holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) once per year. Shareholders are allowed to vote on proposals up for shareholder decision at the meeting. This is your chance to have your say in management decisions, ranging from CEO pay to how a company is addressing issues like global warming, and have your voice heard. A prospectus update: Mutual fund prospectus documents contain details on the fund's objectives, investment strategies, risks, performance, management, and other essential information. Fund prospectuses are usually updated annually upon each new fiscal year. A special meeting: Not to be confused with the annual meeting, public companies and funds can hold an Extraordinary ("Special") General Meeting ad-hoc throughout the year. Special meetings are conducted in circumstances where a meeting is necessary to approve a certain business action, like a merger or acquisition. A shareholder meeting: A shareholder meeting is any meeting called by a company where investors are allowed to vote on proposals up for shareholder decision. Shareholder meetings can be annual meetings, which companies schedule around the same time each year, or special meetings, which are scheduled for company events that directly affect shareholder. Consent solicitation: Consent solicitation is when a company proposes changes to the terms of its security agreement for some reason—typically because a merger has happened. For investors who own a stake in the company, mutual consent or permission is required for a company to make this change. A shareholder notice: A shareholder notice is a statement written to investors from a company management team that communicates the place, date, time, and purpose of an upcoming shareholder meeting. A shareholder report: Shareholder reports update investors on how a fund has been performing and typically list the top holdings in the fund. These reports can be issued on a semi-annual or annual cadence. We hope this short glossary makes our emails more digestible and informative. If you have further questions about your shares, the companies you own, or these communications, don't hesitate to reach out to your broker-dealer or shoot us a message at hello@say.com. -Chloe Imus Illustration by Adam Thompson