21st Century Annual General Meeting – the hybrid meeting bringing value all around

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) is pleased to announce that its Thought Leadership Committee (TLC) has released its inaugural project, titled ‘21st Century Annual General Meeting – the hybrid meeting: Bringing value all around - consider it now!’.  With input from Computershare, a leading financial services provider and ICSA’s nine divisions: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong/China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Southern Africa, UKRIAT (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland & Associated Territories) and Zimbabwe, ICSA has produced a paper and a descriptive video encouraging companies to consider adopting hybrid meetings for their annual general meetings (AGMs), that is, to add an online platform to a physical AGM.

ICSA has found that attendance at AGMs for some jurisdictions is dropping, institutional investors rarely come to the meetings, and retail investors know that voting is often decided before the meeting is held. Also, those attending do not appear to be representative of the make-up of the broader retail shareholder population.  “Shareholders collectively are owners of the company,” said Edith Shih, International President of ICSA and Chairman of TLC. “We believe that companies should consider hybrid AGMs to better engage with shareholders.”

While there is not one size that fits all for all companies, ICSA believes that hybrid meetings will bring value by improving shareholder engagement when shaping strategy, promoting long-term shareholder retention and streamlining administration. These topics are explored in further detail in the paper and the video.

“We are delighted to work with Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU) (Computershare) on this ‘21st Century Annual General Meeting project’,” said Edith Shih.  “Computershare’s expertise in this area of running hybrid meetings as well as their generous sponsorship have added much value to our paper and video.”  Computershare’s white paper ‘The future of shareholder meetings is virtually here’, which was published on 21 September 2017, provides a detailed analysis on the benefits and challenges of hosting hybrid or virtual general meetings.

In the meantime, ICSA calls upon companies to review their current AGM set-up, with thought to adopting a hybrid AGM.

To access the video and paper please click here.

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