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The History of Hybrid: How AGMs Have Evolved

With the advent of the conference call in 1945, it became possible for multiple people in different locations to connect in real time. In the 1980s, the webcam emerged, allowing images to be broadcast in sync with audio. In 2010, Apple’s FaceTime tool brought live video streaming to the masses – and we haven’t looked back as a society since.

But how has the AGM evolved and what does the future hold?

The evolution of hybrid AGMs

Up until the pandemic, most AGMs were conducted using a traditional, in-person format with the meeting taking place in the middle of the workday.

In 2016, Lumi proudly organised the UK’s very first hybrid AGM for Jimmy Choo. This was a landmark step for the industry, one that helped open the AGM to a wider demographic than ever before. However, at this point, many listed companies were yet to realise the full potential of holding such events electronically.

Fast forward to the pandemic: a turning point for remote solutions and the first-time organisations started embracing virtual and hybrid meetings on a larger scale.

Now, hybrid AGMs are not just a knee jerk reaction to pandemic-era restrictions – the hybrid AGM is here to stay.

Why hybrid is the new industry standard

Since the hybrid format has been embraced, it’s proved extremely popular with shareholders. In fact, Lumi found over a fifth prefer to attend AGMs remotely.

In the past, shareholders might have been excluded from AGMs by the meeting location, the time of day or even accessibility issues. Taking away the barrier of physically showing up has opened the AGM up to a new demographic that is keen to engage – much to the benefit of Issuers. Lumi discovered that when meetings are virtual or hybrid, twice as many shareholders attend and ask questions compared to solely in-person events.

Features like virtual microphones, Q&A technology, and secure online voting help to ensure hybrid AGMs run just as smoothly as in-person ones, so everyone has a seat at the table, whether they’re in the room or not.

In 2023, we’ve seen many Issuers reap the benefits of hybrid meetings – not only at AGMs, but for IR meetings and beyond. Moving forward, hybrid must remain the gold standard for organisations to ensure every shareholder can have their voice heard, regardless of location.

For more insights on hybrid meetings and advice on how to organise your first one, read our guide.