Everything You Need To Know About Virtual Shareholder Meetings For Your Business

Posted by Sophia Duplin

Enhance Transparency And Increase Participation With An Online Annual General Meeting

Online meetings are more popular than ever. Every day, companies host onboarding, training, and team meetings on virtual meeting platforms. It’s no secret that virtual meetings increase attendance, quickly diffuse information, and are well received by attendees who value convenience and efficiency. 

 

So it’s only natural that both private companies and public companies are looking to hold their annual shareholder meeting in a virtual environment. Meeting hosts are constantly looking for ways to host better virtual meetings that engage their audience and meet the standards set forth by their company. 

 

But taking your AGM online can be risky if you don’t take the right steps. Let’s take a look at what a virtual shareholder meeting involves, the benefits and risks of hosting a virtual AGM, and what you can do to ensure your meeting stays compliant. 

 

A person holds a ipad reading Shareholder

What Is A Virtual Shareholder Meeting?

A traditional annual shareholder meeting, or AGM, involves gathering shareholders to analyze a company’s performance, asking questions to the business’ board of directors, and discussing its future strategy. 

  • Stakeholders Can Vote On Key Issues

  • Approve Annual Reports, Financial Statements, And Accounts 

  • Election Of Directors

  • Re-Elect Auditors 

  • Vote On Special Issues 

An online shareholder meeting, also known as a virtual annual general meeting, gathers your shareholders in a virtual meeting environment to participate and vote exclusively online. 

 

Meeting organizers steam the AGM via a webcast or virtual meeting, but shareholders aren’t just passive viewers. 

 

Shareholders can submit questions ahead of time, or sometimes through a live chat feature with the meeting host, and vote in real-time during meetings to ensure the functionality of the meeting remains intact. 

 

Companies can also host special shareholder meetings virtually. These meetings are often called to deal with issues that arise between annual meetings. 

 

But hosting a virtual meeting isn’t without its challenges and rewards. Take a look at the benefits and risks of holding virtual shareholder meetings. 

 

The Benefits And Risks Of Virtual Shareholder Meetings

Virtual shareholder meetings follow all the regulatory guidelines of an in-person meeting. They offer distinct advantages and disadvantages when held in an online setting. 

 

Here are some benefits and risks of shifting your AGM to a completely online setting. 

 

Benefits of Virtual Shareholder Meetings 

Risks Of Virtual Shareholder Meetings 

  • Convenience 
  • Increased Attendance 
  • Lower Costs 
  • Better Platform For Q&A Sessions 
  • Stakeholders Can ask questions In Advance 
  • Enhances Company’s Reputation As Industry Leaders 
  • Can Be Recorded
  • Reduces Face-To-Face Interactions 
  • Potential For Company-Favorable Filtering 
  • Increased Risk For Last-Minute Shareholder Voting 
  • Unpredictable Questions Could Throw Off Board Members
  • Tech Issues Could Derail Meeting

 

Annual general meeting organizers know how important it is to ensure voting rights and provide equal opportunities for all shareholders to attend their AGM. 

 

But are the legal requirements the same for online meetings as they are in person? Let’s find out.

 

What Are The Legal Requirements For An Online Shareholder Meeting? 

As your company considers including online shareholder meetings, you must consider the legal meeting requirements necessary to ensure your company’s conference complies. 

 

The rules that govern these meetings depend on the state in which your company is incorporated. Both private companies and public companies are required to hold AGMs. 

 

Aside from your meeting following corporate bylaws and meeting the quorum requirement, here are some things you need to consider as you plan your virtual shareholder meeting. 

  • Internal Corporate Governance: You must ensure that the governing documents, like articles of incorporation, bylaws, and certificate, allow such a meeting environment. Only the board of directors can decide if an annual meeting of shareholders can be held online.  

  • Meeting Invitation: The invite must specify which technical and organizational requirements are required to participate. 

  • Participation: All parties must be granted participation abilities through two-way audio-visual technology from any global location to allow shareholder votes to be counted in real-time. 

  • Identity Verification: There must be a way to ensure the participant’s identity, such as a live video feed. 

  • Communication: For meetings with many participants, there must be a means available to allow attendees to ask questions, offer insights, and vote through a proxy statement in advance. If this is the case, one-way webcasts and audio-only meetings are acceptable. 

  • Proxies: Proxy materials are provided by public companies to help shareholders understand the voting process. If a proxy statement is used, the company must provide at least four independent proxies. 

Corporate law translates directly to a virtual shareholder meeting. Whether you plan an AGM for a public or private company, you’ll need to meet specific regulatory requirements to ensure your session goes off without a hitch. 

  • Be Transparent With Required Meeting Technology. 

  • Choose An Online Event Platform That Accommodates The Majority Of Stakeholders. 

  • Have A Corporate Secretary Or Another Appointee Take The Meeting Minutes.

  • Create Virtual Meeting Requirements And Procedures Available Ahead Of The Meeting. 

  • Record The Meeting And Post On A Public Website For A Predetermined Amount Of Time

  • Follow All Regulatory Guidelines For In-Person Meetings 

Remember that the more upfront you are about your meeting format, procedures, and expectations, the happier your shareholders will be. 

 

Your company will need to take more steps to ensure transparency for shareholders depending on your existing practices and state statutes. 

 

Host Your Next Annual General Meeting Online With The Help Of BeaconLive

Technological advances mean virtual meetings will always be an option for today’s companies. Holding your AGM online not only makes it more convenient but increases your business’ transparency by opening the door for shareholder attendance and questions. 

 

Most importantly, you need a virtual meeting platform that does more than just stream live video. You need tools that will increase shareholder engagement and offer opportunities to lend their voice to the essential conversations. 

 

BeaconLive offers advanced platform features that help bring your meeting to life and engage your shareholders. We have over twenty years of virtual meeting experience and can help your company deliver a flawlessly executed meeting. 

 

When you’re ready to take your AGM virtual, contact us to start the planning process. Once you’ve hosted your first online shareholder meeting, you’ll shine as a leader of your industry as more companies follow your lead.  


 

Topics: Virtual Events, Virtual Events: Best Practices

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FAQs

What are some ways I can engage my virtual event attendees?

Engage your virtual event attendees by keeping the meeting brief, offering breakout sessions, and hosting exciting giveaways. 

What webinar topics will capture my audience’s attention?

Find webinar topics that will engage your audience by asking them directly, observing your competitors, and updating old webinar topics with fresh content. 

How often are shareholder meetings held?

Businesses must have at least one annual shareholders’ meeting per year but may hold more as bylaws allow.