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What is a virtual shareholder meeting?

Post-pandemic, the return to in-room Annual General Meetings (AGMs) is on the rise. However, the advantages of hosting a fully virtual format shouldn't be ignored, as it's a format that holds many benefits, such as enabling shareholders to engage and cast their votes online.

What is a virtual AGM like?

By hosting a virtual AGM, businesses can provide their shareholders with the opportunity to actively participate in the meeting, just like they would in a traditional in-person meeting. Stakeholders can ask questions, send messages and vote on important topics, ensuring that their voices are heard and their opinions are taken into consideration.

Digitalizing your meeting does not limit the ability of shareholders to engage in these actions; in fact, it can enhance the experience in some cases. For example, shareholders who may not have been able to attend an in-person meeting due to travel constraints or other commitments can now participate from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This can lead to increased participation and engagement from a wider range of shareholders, ultimately benefiting the company as a whole

Additionally, virtual AGMs can provide a more efficient and streamlined process for conducting meetings, saving time and resources for both the company and its shareholders. Overall, hosting a virtual AGM can be a valuable and effective way to ensure that your shareholders can actively engage in the decision-making process of your company.

Who has hosted a virtual AGM?

Since Lumi began operating in 1995, we have worked with thousands of organizations around the globe, helping leading businesses and associations innovate and digitize their AGMs. In 2020, digitization at the AGM accelerated, as organizations looked to safeguard the continuity of their operation.

Lumi delivered Marks and Spencer Group PLC’s first fully virtual AGM back in 2020, when the first few companies were testing out fully online annual meetings during lockdown. The result of this was a significant increase in engagement, with over 1,500 individuals attending to vote, submit questions or view the broadcast, whilst there were only 561 attending in the previous year. The participation from shareholders increased in terms of questions put to the board, with 86 in 2020 compared to 58 in 2019. This demonstrates that when a virtual meeting is run well, there is a clear opportunity to significantly increase shareholder engagement. Consequently, M&S's AGMs have been digital ever since, including its most recent in 2023


Since 2020, virtual meetings have become much more common, as organizations have come to realize the benefits a virtual AGM can have for shareholder engagement, diversity and inclusion, net zero planning and business continuity.

What are the benefits of a virtual AGM?

Here are just some of the benefits of hosting a virtual AGM:

1. Increased attendance
Attendance and engagement go hand in hand. Offering a virtual AGM or the option to participate online demonstrates a thoughtful approach to accommodating the diverse range of shareholders in the meeting, regardless of their geographical location or technical proficiency.

2. Greater value and ESG consideration
Delivering a virtual AGM can be beneficial when budget is tight, with less spend required on conference rooms, catering and travel. Additionally, costs will be cut where there is no longer a need for paper materials, including ID badges, booklets, and merchandise. These cuts are also beneficial for reducing your organization’s carbon footprint, which is a growing concern for shareholders. Read more on the costs of a virtual AGM here.

3. More stringent security
Meeting security is a priority for any business, and with the virtual meeting format, security can be tightly monitored. Lumi’s patented technology and rigorous security testing ensures that your meeting is protected from any possible threats and security will not be compromised at your digital AGM. For more information on how we keep your meeting secure, click here.

4. Increased accessibility
A virtual AGM can be an opportunity to champion accessibility. Accessibility is of paramount importance and our platform is designed to be intuitive for all shareholders, irrespective of digital literacy. With Lumi’s easy-to-use platform, and expert help from the technical team on the day of the meeting, participants shouldn’t struggle to take part and can engage when it matters most.

Organizations are also recognizing the advantages that virtual meetings offer for shareholder engagement, diversity and inclusion, net zero planning, and business continuity. Below is a glimpse of the success of M&S's fourth virtual AGM, which had a virtual element

M&S Chairman, Archie Norman, remarked: “I want M&S to have the biggest and most engaging AGM in the country. A meeting which is accessible to all shareholders, no matter where they live, or where they hold their M&S shares. I think we took a step further towards that today with our 4th digital AGM, which continued to attract three times as many shareholders as our last physical meeting. I was pleased to welcome Shareholders who attended in person into the room and delighted to take our first questions from shareholders who, as part of our Share Your Voice campaign, reached us through the interactive investor platform.”

Norman's comments demonstrate the powerful advantage that hosting a hybrid meeting can have - in this case, triple the number of shareholders in attendance. This underscores the enduring significance of meetings with a virtual element in shaping the future of corporate engagement and communication.

Ready to Go Virtual?

If your organization is considering hosting a virtual AGM, there are numerous benefits to be gained from making the switch. By embracing the virtual format, you can not only increase engagement and participation from a wider range of shareholders, but also streamline the meeting process, saving both time and resources for your company and its stakeholders.

With Lumi's proven technology and stringent security measures, you can trust that your AGM will be safeguarded against any potential threats, ensuring a safe and protected digital environment for all participants.

If your organization is ready to embrace the benefits of hosting a virtual AGM, don't hesitate to reach out to the Lumi team for expert guidance and support. Make the transition to virtual AGMs seamless and successful with Lumi's innovative solutions.