There have been plenty of recent discussions about the role virtual meetings play in shareholder engagement and access to the board. While virtual shareholder meetings have been gaining momentum, some shareholder advocates continue to lobby companies for maintaining the requirement for in-person meetings.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has indicated in a recent no-action letter that a company may exclude a shareholder proposal requiring an in-person shareholder meeting from its proxy materials, as such matter could be deemed an ordinary business operation. This appears to indicate that whether to conduct a virtual meeting, in-person meeting, or both will be a matter for a company to determine.
Virtual meetings can lead to greater shareholder engagement since many more shareholders can participate and provide direct feedback from virtually anywhere and easily online. Companies will have more visibility on who is attending the meeting, management reporting, real time voting and much more.
Additional useful information for annual meeting season:
- Ten Tips for a Smooth Annual Meeting
- Computershare annual meeting guide
- Georgeson's Annual Corporate Governance Review