Shareholders' participation rights
Voting right restrictions, statutory group clauses and exception rules
There are no voting right restrictions and no statutory group clauses (other than the limitations on nominee registrations). Therefore, there are no procedures or conditions for cancelling restrictions and no rules on making exceptions to them. Accordingly, no such exceptions were made in 2013.
Statutory rules on participating in the General Meeting of shareholders
The share whose owner, usufructuary or nominee is entered in the share register as having voting rights on a specific qualifying day determined by the Board of Directors entitles its holder to one vote at the General Meeting of shareholders.
Swiss Re’s legal provisions allow any shareholder with voting rights to have his or her shares represented at any General Meeting of shareholders by another person authorised in writing, or by corporate bodies, independent proxies or proxies for deposited shares. Such representatives need not be shareholders. The Ordinance Against Excessive Compensation at Public Corporations foresees that representations by corporate bodies or proxies for deposited shares are no longer permitted as of 1 January 2014.
Business firms, partnerships and corporate bodies may be represented by legal or authorised representatives or other proxies, married persons by their spouses, minors and wards by their guardians, even though such representatives are not shareholders.
The General Meeting of shareholders may pass resolutions regardless of the number of shareholders present or shares represented by proxy. Resolutions pass by an absolute majority of votes validly cast, except where the law requires otherwise. The Chairman does not have a casting vote.
The Chairman of the General Meeting of shareholders determines the voting procedure. Provided that the voting is not done electronically, voting shall take place openly by a show of hands. The voting will only be carried out by written ballot if more than 50 of the shareholders present demand so by a show of hands.
Convocation of the General Meeting of shareholders
In accordance with Swiss Re’s Articles of Association, the Board of Directors convenes the General Meeting of shareholders through a notice published in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce at least 20 days before the date of the meeting. The notice must state the day, time and place of the General Meeting of shareholders, along with the agenda and proposals, which will be submitted by the Board of Directors.
Extraordinary General Meetings of shareholders may be called by a resolution of the General Meeting of shareholders or the Board of Directors, or by one or more shareholders with voting powers whose combined holdings represent at least 10% of the share capital.
The Board of Directors announces the agenda for the General Meeting of shareholders. Shareholders with voting power whose combined holdings represent shares with a nominal value of at least CHF 100 000 may, no later than 45 days before the date of the meeting, request that further matters be included in the agenda. Such requests must be in writing and must specify the items and the proposals to be submitted.
Registrations in the share register
In recent years, Swiss Re has acknowledged the voting rights of shares registered no later than two working days before the General Meeting of shareholders.