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Agents' Mutual: critical 'float vote' needs 75% backing, not 90%

Agents’ Mutual has confirmed that it requires 75 per cent of the votes of member agencies to pass its proposals to demutualise and float - not the 90 per cent cited by some industry commentators. 

When the parent company of OnTheMarket announced to the City last week that it was proposing to demutualise, many industry publications and social media contributions seized on an apparent requirement for 90 per cent of members to agree - however, this is incorrect.

“The majority vote needed to pass the Members Scheme Proposals is 75 per cent of the total number of members who vote, however they vote, whether it is in person or by proxy” a spokeswoman for Agents’ Mutual has told Estate Agent Today.

The system is one vote per firm with a membership of around 2,700 firms according to Agents’ Mutual’s figures. Those not voting are ‘not counted’ - in other words, there is no default presumption that a firm that does not vote is in favour or against the proposal.

Agents’ Mutual has told EAT that all members are entitled to vote by proxy - so do not need to meet in person at the formal Members’ Court meeting on September 6 - although that event is likely to be when the result will be clear.

The 75 per cent threshold is in fact common to most demutualisations: most of the building societies which demutualised in the 1990s and early 2000s had to meet a similar target.

The difficulties for a small number of those building societies came when there were over 50 per cent of their members in favour of the move - so indicating a clear majority in favour - but fewer than 75 per cent, required to actually trigger the change in status.

The Agents’ Mutual roadshow of meetings with members continues until late August.

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