Just as the arrangements for physical meetings can vary
based on the needs of the company and their shareholders, there is no “one size
fits all” approach to online meetings.
The considerations raised here are therefore intended not to
be prescriptive, but instead to prompt discussion on appropriate guidelines.
We recommend the use of video rather than audio-only as best
practice for hybrid meetings. For companies conducting hybrid meetings, use of
video will better replicate the in-person experience for remote participants.
However, when holding a fully virtual meeting, audio-only
mode in conjunction with presentation slides can provide a fantastic user
experience and still look professional.
Question time is an important part of your AGM, which allows
your shareholders to engage with the board and hold them accountable.
In accordance with guiding principles provided by ASIC, all
shareholders at a hybrid or virtual meeting are to be given an opportunity to
participate in the meeting, as if a physical meeting was being held.
While we have seen some instances of companies not allowing
questions at their AGMs so far during 2020, the majority of companies are
giving their shareholders a voice, either through a meeting app, via
teleconferencing, or both.
The best shareholder experience occurs when a company allows
its shareholders to ask questions in written format online, as well as the
opportunity to verbally ask questions via teleconferencing
We have seen several companies use phone lines to facilitate and encourage shareholder engagement by offering the right of reply, despite the
potential drawbacks of teleconferencing when used in conjunction with
It is worth noting that shareholder validation is more
difficult over the phone line. So, if it is important for your company to know
that only shareholders are asking questions, then teleconferencing may not be
the right option for you.
To build investor confidence in the question process, an
independent moderator such as your company secretary or a legal secretary, can
manage questions in accordance with the protocols.