Just as the arrangements for physical meetings can vary based on the needs of the company and their investors, there is no “one size fits all” approach to virtual and hybrid meetings. The considerations raised here are therefore intended not to be prescriptive but instead to prompt discussion on appropriate guidelines.

 Use video

We believe that investor preference for direct personal interaction at the meeting is partly a transitional concern that will likely resolve through improvements in technology and through the generational shift in comfort with wholly digital communications. Greater use of video presentation should also help address investors’ desire to “see” the Board and management. Board discomfort with video presentation can be alleviated by media training.

We recommend video rather than audio-only as a best practice for virtual and hybrid meetings. For companies conducting virtual and hybrid meetings, use of video will better replicate the in-person experience for remote participants.

Subject to robust protocols around Q&A management, audio-only hybrid and virtual meetings can still be a practical and cost-effective solution, but we encourage companies considering the audio-only option to seek their own legal advice.

 Manage questions properly

​You must have a robust question management process in place to ensure all questions are adequately addressed by the chairperson. This is an important step in developing trust with your investors and building confidence in a new environment. Consider appointing an independent moderator to manage questions in accordance with the meeting protocols. The following specific process points should also be considered:

 How to present shareholder proposals

The presentation of shareholder proposals also needs to be considered, and appropriate technology should be used to support them. The company should consider engaging with the shareholder, where appropriate, to agree on the approach for presentation of the proposal. Options to consider include:

      • Providing a dedicated call-in number for the presentation of shareholder proposals

      • Appointing a company representative to read out the shareholder proposals

      • Permitting the shareholder to provide a recorded voice file to be played during the meeting

      • Allowing the shareholder proposal to be presented by video

 Ensure your meeting is secure

The use of "best in class" technology is critical to the success of virtual and hybrid meetings. Computershare's hybrid/virtual meeting solution addresses the following factors:

      • Security, scalability and redundancy as core design features

      • Use of adaptive streaming to seamlessly transition between stream quality without interrupted playback or buffering

      • Provision of secure login and shareholder authentication for attendance, with ease of access for shareholders, and remote voting

      • Combined registration, voting and reporting software

      • Provision of real-time management reporting, customised instant results screen and detailed audit reporting

      • Device independence, adaptable to the shareholder's choice of device, to maximise participation

Computershare is committed to working with our corporate clients, investors and other key market stakeholders through the transition to digital technology for shareholder meetings, to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality, secure, trustworthy, effective and cost-efficient shareholder meetings through all channels.

Learn more about virtual and hybrid meetings

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