In voting rights, two or more shareholders cast their vote in a particular manner by entering into a mutual agreement. It can curtail an individual shareholderâ€™s right or two or more shareholdersâ€™ rights due to an agreement that includes various other conditions. Voting agreements are valid in the United States, where the shareholders share the voting rights according to the agreement. The voting agreement is in writing, which the shareholdersâ€™ sign for exercising their voting rights. Voting agreements are also known as pooling agreements, which are agreements between the shareholders to vote for their shares. Unless otherwise provided, a voting agreement formed under a statute is legally enforceable.
On the otherhand, a shareholder agreement lays out the description of the organizationâ€™s operation, rights, and obligations provided to the shareholders and the shareholders’ relationship with the organization. The shareholder agreement protects the interest of the present shareholders from cases of abuse by future management. Decisions about the dividend distribution are safeguarded by the shareholder agreement in case the establishment of the new management or organization is acquired by another organization. Issues of the shareholders, corporate distribution, organizations’ management team, and the limitation on the authority are included in the shareholder agreement. It also includes minority shareholdersâ€™ rights, valuation of shares, and the voting of shares of stock and restricting transferring the shares.
Purpose of the Shareholder Agreement
The main objective of the shareholder agreement is to ensure the protection of the shareholders and treat them fairly, thereby allowing them to make decisions concerning third parties in the future. The agreement also holds importance for the minority shareholders as an obligation of the majority shareholders for protecting minority shareholders against abuse has been outlined. Therefore the minority shareholders have a voice in making key decisions.
The present shareholders’ interests are protected from being abused by the management through the shareholder agreement. Due to the lack of voting control in the organizations of the minority shareholders, minimal influence is exerted in the operation and management of the organization. Generally, few shareholders who own more than fifty percent of the organization manage and take the key decisions that might not include minority shareholders.
Majority shareholders can alter the articles of associations that protect the minority shareholders by special resolutions. Therefore, they can address loopholes such as the majority required in making key decisions by the shareholders in the shareholder agreement which requires all shareholders regardless of their voting power.
Contents of Shareholder Agreement
Various organizations include different contents in the shareholder agreement. Following are some of the contents of a shareholder agreement.
Parties – In the first segment of the agreement, the organization is identified as one different party from its shareholders.
Board of directors and meetings of the board – The role board of directorsâ€™ role is described in the agreement where it is required that a majority must approve the boardâ€™s decision. The frequency of the meetings of the board is also described in the agreement.
Reserved matters – Should describe certain matters in the agreement, which requires approval of all the signatories instead of a majority. Therefore, should create a list of reserved matters for giving a chance to the shareholder to vet specific transactions for determining whether they are prejudicial.
Information and meetings of the shareholder – It is required that the shareholder agreement include performance and quarterly reports of the organization to which the shareholders are entitled.
Share capital and transfers – The share capital of the organization should be recorded in the agreement on the date when it has been signed. The directors are not allowed to issue new shares or change the existing shares into a new class of shares without the approval of the signatories, as the change in the share capital is a reserved matter.
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