'Lower returns likely in FY24': Bank of Queensland shares dip amid AGM first strike

CEO tells shareholders to expect lower returns next financial year.

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Bank of Queensland Ltd (ASX: BOQ) shares closed the session on Tuesday down 3.19% to $5.46 apiece.

The fall comes amid a first strike vote at the annual general meeting today.

A first strike vote is when more than 25% of a company's stock votes against the adoption of the managers' remuneration report.

It's a very public way of ASX investors telling management they're not earning their keep.

A hefty 40.27% voted against the report at the AGM today. If a second protest vote is recorded at next year's AGM, a vote will be automatically held on whether to spill the board of directors.

Bank of Queensland shares lower as CEO promises change

In a speech, Bank of Queensland Managing Director and CEO Patrick Allaway said:

We recognise this has been a difficult year, with our leadership changes, enforceable undertakings, decline in statutory earnings and poor share price performance.

We have taken responsibility and accountability, and the Board has taken decisive and appropriate consequence management …

What he's talking about there is the board's decision to reduce the individual base fees of non-executive directors by 20% in recognition of the company's poor performance.

Additionally, the board will convert about 66% of FY23 performance fees, and Allaway will forego his own performance fees altogether.

Allaway discussed a number of problems that the bank is now working to fix, such as the previously "inferior online banking experience and low base of transaction accounts".

While the bank began addressing this issue in 2020, the flow-on effect is being seen today with higher funding costs. This is because banks use a combination of money in customers' savings accounts and wholesale market borrowings (which are now more expensive due to rising rates) to fund new loans.

'Lower returns likely' next year, says CEO

Allaway said the bank has a clear plan to fix things, but this will come at a cost, commenting:

This plan requires continued investment in the business through this current cycle of cost and margin headwinds.

As such, lower returns are likely in FY24 while we position BOQ for recovery in FY25 and 26.

We are in a strong financial position to continue our transformation investment and manage this
economic cycle, while continuing to pay dividends.

We are focused on restoring shareholder value and need time and stability to see this plan through.

Allaway said the Bank of Queensland would continue to pay dividends but they would be at the lower end of the payout ratio.

The company delivered an investor presentation at the AGM today.

What's the latest on the Bank of Queensland share price?

As my Fool colleague Seb reports, Bank of Queensland shares outshone the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) last month. The ASX 200 lifted 4.5% while the Bank of Queensland share price rose 7.8%.

Seb speculates that investors may have been buying the dip in the ASX 200 bank share after it fell 11.15% in October.

That month, BoQ reported a 70% fall in statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) to $124 million for FY23. On top of that, it cut its dividend. The bank share hit a 52-week low of $5.07 on 1 November.

Bank of Queensland shares are among the top 10 most shorted shares of the ASX today.

As my colleague James reports, the regional bank has a short interest of 8.3%.

We recently investigated whether the short sellers are right about this ASX bank share.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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