With Virtual AGMs on the Rise, How Companies Should Handle Q&A

April 24, 2020 2:19 pm Published by
As of mid-April, more than 1,000 public companies were slated to hold virtual AGMs – up from just 286 in all of 2019. Although public health circumstances have catalyzed rapid adoption of vAGMs, the trend was already underway. The number tripled in the last five years and could top 2,500 by the end of 2020.

Advocates tout digital accessibility for shareholders and staff who may not otherwise be able to travel. Add to that the cost savings for travel and lodging. But even with increased inclusivity and a better bottom line, it is still important to address inherent distinctions of meeting digitally.

A major point of emphasis – at in-person, virtual or hybrid meetings – is ensuring substantive, engaged dialogue with shareholders. This requires two key elements: Transparent advance communication about procedures and processes, and a technology platform partner with robust Q&A capabilities.

In a survey of public companies holding virtual-only meetings, 58% said they were permitting stockholders to submit questions only during the meeting, with another 32% allowing questions both in advance and at the meeting. This translates to nine out of ten companies surveyed in alignment with the position of proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis, who lobby for full participation of shareholders in any meeting format.

As investor expectations and the economic environment continue to evolve, it is clear that virtual will only become more intertwined with reality. To take the first step towards planning your vAGM or take it to the next level, download Issuer Direct’s free white paper.