You’ve made the transition from private to public company. One of your tasks in the first year will be to plan for the all-important first annual meeting as a newly public company. This is an important company event, offering an opportunity to meet with your investors, discuss company values and strategies, business performance so far, and short- and long-term goals.
A successful meeting requires considerable planning, preparation and coordination. It's important to select the right format for your meeting, that will best suit your company and your shareholders as you embark on this significant milestone.
Virtual meetings, where all parties attend in an online only format, became massively popular within the past couple of years out of necessity due to the pandemic. Virtual meetings can maximize engagement and transparency by offering shareholders the ability to view your annual meeting remotely from any digital device and cast their votes securely online. Shareholders have full access to documents, videos, Q&As, comments and ballots. As millennials grow to be the largest demographic in the workforce and remote ways of working become more prevalent, virtual meetings offer a digital solution to adapt to evolving customer requirements.
As virtual meetings took off in 2020, in-person annual meetings conversely came to a halt. Prior to the pandemic, most meetings were held in person, and several states prohibited a virtual-only format. While these rules were eased during the pandemic, many look forward to returning to in-person meetings.
In-person meetings offer the opportunity for attendees to engage with each other directly, which can help establish trust and better communication. However, costs (such as venue, travel and transportation, and printed materials) are definitely a major consideration for in-person meetings. Environmental and sustainability concerns are also considerations.
With hybrid meetings, attendees have the option of participating virtually or in-person. Those who prefer to attend virtually - whether out of convenience, cost effectiveness, or travel concerns, can do so. And those that prefer the in-person experience, where they can engage with other investors, board members and directors on a more personal level than what online offers, have that option. While there are naturally more logistics to cover, hybrid meetings have grown popular as a means to meet the needs and preferences of a wider range of attendees. Many proxy advisory firms prefer this meeting format.
The meeting format you choose will drive many subsequent tasks, such as developing initial and ongoing communications, so it’s important to determine which meeting format will work best early on. Your transfer agent can provide guidance and support throughout this process, so make sure you lean on them as a resource. Computershare offers a comprehensive
portfolio of meeting services to help you organize, communicate, run and tabulate the results of your annual meeting.
For more information about our services, or if you have questions regarding the annual meeting process, contact us today.