I attended the 15th AGM of Yes Bank today.
The hall was packed and it was standing room
I was astonished to see Bouncers in the audience.
Normally, Bouncers at a AGM are a very negative sign since it implies that the management fears violence from its own shareholders
The proceedings started promptly on time
The Chairman Brahm Dutt went through the Notice and the official part of the AGM got over very quickly.
Now was the time for Q&A.
The Chairman announced that they have already received questions and will call in the order of names in the Speaking List. All the Questions will be answered in the end
To my shock and those of other shareholders, it became fairly clear that the members called to ask Questions to the management (Speaking List) were some notorious characters.
These characters are very well known to AGM veterans and often have an agenda different from a genuine shareholder. They are often in cahoots with the management and ask planted Qs and don’t let genuine shareholders air their grievances
As expected, one by one of these characters came on stage as if following a planned script.
Their comments/questions followed a straight line like a Mumbai Local:
-Thank you for sending me the Balance Sheet (Their script didnt use the words ‘Annual Report’) on time
-Congratulations for posting good numbers (?) in this difficult period
-Welcome to the new Lady Directors on Board.Now Goddess Lakshmi is represented on the Board
-Thank you for generous dividends
-We hope you take the Company to new heights
-Congratulations on the various awards won by the Bank
-Congratulations on the great CSR activities done etc
And so on….
Some of the comments by these speakers are cringe worthy:
“Balance Sheet is very beautiful”
“Aap Yes Bank Ko # 1 Banaoge, Virat Kohli Ki tarah Sixer Pe Sixer Maroge”
“Yes Bank is very near and dear to my heart. Under the renowned (?) leadership of Mr. Gill, the stock will become a multi-bagger”
“Thank you for the Balance Sheet which is full of knowledge”
“Can you take us on a trip to Mt.Abu where you gave a lecture on stress management”
“Can you share the future road map of last 3 years?”
“I have looked at the photographs in the Annual Report.Your photos indicate that you have good hope for the future”
The height of the ridiculous happened when one Mr. Ashish Chandak took the dias.
He claimed he was an Employee-Shareholder and represented the employees of the Company
He said “I will speak Dil Se, Man Ki Baat Karunga”
Started saying stuff that employees work day & night for the Bank etc etc. Said the Bank works in a Professional Entrepreneurship framework and this will rescue the Bank from the turmoil that it is in.
He said the Bank pre-split was Rs.8 and now its Rs.135…Investors should not fear etc
He was going to quote Ronald Reagan when genuine investors had enough and told him to shut up.
After that a genuine investor took the dias. He mentioned that the Bank was known for cooking its accounts, now even the speaking list (people called to ask Qs) was cooked. The speaking list, in his opinion, was prepared on 10th June itself !!
Then he mentioned that employees, along with Rana Kapoor, should have been kicked out for landing the Bank in this mess. This got some applause from the audience
Finally, it was the turn of the Board of Directors to answer the Questions
Ravneet Gill made short work of them.As per him, he grouped the questions into four parts and answered as follows:
Part 1 – Future Strategy :
Will continue to remain a Corporate Bank.Retail Banking and Commerical Banking will help diversify. Main aim is to bring down the cost of funding
Part 2 – Asset Quality:
Market has responded very conservatively to our asset quality issues. A handful of our large exposures have liquidity issues.Moodys downgrade is because of them.This will take some time to resolve.
Allied to this is capital raise. All options -Public QIP or PE- are on the table.Will revert back on this in short order
Part 3 – Technology
Yes Bank is the leader in digitisation and expects technology to build new businesses, address consumer needs etc. Genuinely thinks Yes Bank is a leader in Technology
Part 4 – Perception of the Bank
Banks are institutions of public trust and will work to improve the perception. Gave a handsome dividend to send a message to shareholders that we are confident of the Bank’s future
Parting words of Gill to shareholders “We will strive to remain worthy of the trust and support you repose in the Bank”