Karmen Vladar

4 reasons why your annual meeting should be Virtual or Hybrid

With more and more companies opting to make their annual shareholder meeting a virtual (online only) or hybrid (offline supplemented by digital technology with mobile connections such as smartphones or handsets) affair – everyone from Ford, to PayPal, to Jimmy Choo have made the switch recently and that number is only going to increase – we decided to take a look at four reasons why your next AGM should be a virtual or hybrid one. 

It gives every shareholder a voice
Shareholders come in all different shapes and sizes. While many will be perfectly willing and able to hold their own in a debate with an experienced Chairperson (and some may even relish it), there are just as many for whom the thought of going toe to toe and debating company strategy and direction with a highly qualified chair in front if hundreds of people is quite terrifying.

Tools like Lumi's allow shareholders and members to submit questions for the board through a smartphone app or handset with a messaging platform, breaking down barriers and opening the debate to those who might otherwise not have been involved.

No paper!
Of course, anything that looks out for the environment is a good thing. With a virtual or hybrid set-up, you can say goodbye to paper with everything including shareholder attendance, agendas and ballot papers all handled digitally. As well as being more convenient, using a smartphone app or handset ensures companies appear professional and progressive to shareholders, while freeing up organisers and planners to focus on making sure the rest of the event runs smoothly for everyone.

They’re more accurate and secure
Accuracy and transparency are crucial when it comes to matters of corporate governance. A virtual or hybrid solution means companies no longer have to make do with a mere show of hands. Substituting the paper ballot for a digital alternative also means the whole voting process is far more transparent, with results displayed instantaneously to attendees and a full audit trail of voting activity available for scrutiny. And, with votes counted instantly, it means more time can be given to debating the important issues. 

It’s a more inclusive event
Perhaps the biggest tick in favour of a virtual or hybrid AGM is that they mean every shareholder has a chance to attend. Whether it is the small shareholder who cannot afford to travel or the institutional investor with large holdings that won’t always have time to attend meetings in person, a virtual AGM gives everyone the opportunity to be present and have their say.

There are many more reasons why companies are increasingly turning to these two methods for their annual meeting, yet it all eventually boils down to one objective – all the above help to increase engagement and dialogue with shareholders, ultimately ensuring the company is best placed to achieve all of its business goals.

If you’d like to know more about Lumi’s Shareholder and Member Meetings technology, feel free to get in touch.