2021 Annual General Meetings -
virtual, physical or both?
As a result of lockdowns and restrictions across the globe, companies have embraced, the value of webcasting. What is it? Why is it important? And is a live webcast really necessary for my audience? Let’s run through some of these questions, starting with the fundamentals…
What is a webcast?
When referring to Annual General Meetings, a webcast is usually either:
- A live broadcast version of your presentation – which is made available to your stakeholders and streamed in real time, or
- A video-recorded version of your presentation, which is made available to stakeholders after the AGM has concluded – we call this an on demand webcast.
Both kinds of webcast can be timed with slides or overlaid with special graphics. Both are made available to investors via a link (lodged as an ASX announcement) which they click on to watch the webcast.
FAQs for virtual AGMs
With AGMs upon us, companies are quickly turning to technology to deliver entirely virtual AGMs for the first time. While hybrid AGMs have both physical and virtual components and have been around for awhile, the advent of the exclusively virtual AGM is a COVID-19 novelty, and one that has been a long time coming.
For some companies this will be an easy transition having laid the groundwork with incorporating teleconferencing, audio and video webcasting into their FY and HY results as well as their AGM for years. For many others, this is uncharted territory.
Will Canty, CEO at Boardroom.Media spoke to Megan Motto, CEO of Governance Institute of Australia to bring some clarity to companies around the expectations and regulations of running a successful virtual AGM.
There are 4 components to a virtual AGM:
- The company hosting the AGM
- The share registry
- The approved voting platform and
- The webcast provider/vendor
The critical factor in a successful AGM is clear, well managed communications between these four key stakeholders.
To simplify the process, we have curated the following list of FAQs around hosting a virtual AGM
Q.1. How is the virtual AGM broadcast to a digital audience?
A. The first step in coordinating a virtual AGM is selecting the voting platform of your choice. After selecting the voting platform you wish to use, you then must select your webcast provider such as Boardroom.Media who will record the AGM as either audio or video webcast with synchronised slides. This webcast will then be embedded onto the voting platform allowing you to watch or listen to the presentations before asking questions of the executives and casting your online vote.
Q.2. How can shareholders engage with the company during the virtual event?
A. The voting platform will provide a Q&A facility where shareholders can submit their questions through a chat box. These questions will be put to the company executives who will respond in the live Q&A segment. In limited circumstances, companies may also choose to use a teleconference facility which will allow for questions to be asked verbally. This can also be facilitated by Boardroom.Media.
Q.3. How are shareholders identifiable through a Virtual AGM?
A. The share registry provides the listed company with a list of who their shareholders are – only shareholders can vote or ask questions at the AGM. The share registry has unique identifiers (numbers) for each shareholder and it is that unique ID which gives the shareholder access to the AGM. Shareholders will use this identifier to enter the voting platform where registration takes place.
Q.4. How does the voting take place?
A. There are numerous platforms available to companies that allow for online voting. You can decide which platform will suit your company before choosing your webcast provider. Boardroom.Media can assist you in finding the voting platform that suits your needs.