If you’re thinking of hosting a virtual AGM with Zoom, MS Teams or a dedicated virtual event platform, there’s a lot of moving parts to take care of to ensure its success.
In experienced hands, your virtual AGM can be just as successful, professional and engaging as any in-person AGM, but it’s not as simple as broadcasting your meeting and hoping for the best. Not sure where to start? Our experts share their best practices for a successfully managed virtual AGM that will satisfy your shareholders and meet ASIC’s guidelines.
What is a Managed Virtual AGM?
A managed virtual AGM (annual general meeting) is a virtual AGM that’s run by a professional event manager using Zoom, MS Teams or a purpose-built virtual event platform.
Your virtual AGM event manager takes care of your event end-to-end, including building the event run sheet based on your agenda, facilitating your Q&A sessions and live voting. An experienced virtual event manager will also look after all the technical aspects of your virtual AGM so that your event runs seamlessly.
What are the Guidelines for Holding your Virtual AGM with Zoom or MS Teams?
Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the Treasury Laws Amendment Act 2021 currently allows companies to hold virtual AGM’s on virtual platforms including Zoom or MS Teams. ASIC simply requires that all members are given the same opportunity to participate in your virtual AGM as they would if they attended in person. To ensure that your virtual AGM using Zoom, MS Teams or other virtual technology complies with ASIC’s guidelines, you must:
provide an easy and secure electronic registration process
provide virtual technology that allows participants to follow proceedings without interruption
provide an opportunity for voting/polling with your audience
provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions live
a notice-of-meeting must be provided, including specific instructions on how to join the virtual AGM
have a plan for back-up technology should technical issues arise
How to Successfully Manage your Virtual AGM with Zoom or MS Teams
Here’s our top tips for ensuring that your virtual AGM with Zoom or MS Teams is a success.
1. Hire a Virtual Event Manager Specialising in AGMs
It’s not easy to host a successful virtual AGM on your own. That’s why Australia’s leading companies turn to professional virtual AGM event providers to help them create and deliver a seamless experience for their shareholders—as well as a stress-free event for you, the organiser!
Not all virtual event hosts offer the same level of service or expertise. Look for a provider with proven experience managing successful virtual AGMs, and who can provide you with the option to manage your meeting on your choice or platform, whether that’s Zoom, MS Teams or their own virtual events platform.
2. Ensure you’re Fulfilling ASIC’s Requirements for Virtual Events on Zoom or MS Teams
A professional virtual AGM manager will talk you through ASIC’s guidelines for hosting your virtual AGM on Zoom or MS Teams. They will ensure that you’re fulfilling the requirements we outlined above, without missing any little details. If you do decide to self-manage your virtual AGM, be sure that you’re up to date with the latest requirements, to avoid non-compliance penalties.
3. Choose Your Virtual Event Platform
The platform that you choose to host your managed virtual AGM can make a big difference to the quality of your meeting. While it’s perfectly legal to host your virtual AGM with Zoom or MS Teams, there are many benefits in choosing a virtual AGM manager who can provide their own purpose built virtual event platform.
Virtual event platforms that are wholly-owned by your virtual event provider will have built-in features specially designed for conducting successful and compliant virtual AGMs, such as live and proxy voting, Q&A sessions and ASX final reporting.
4. Hybrid or Virtual?
You can choose to host your virtual AGM completely virtually, or consider the increasingly popular hybrid virtual AGM option. Hybrid AGMs allow you to have some shareholders onsite, physically attending the meeting. But it also gives them the option to join in virtually, using virtual event technology.
5. Send Your Virtual AGM Notice of Meeting
Now that you’ve done the prep work for your virtual AGM, it’s time to send out your virtual annual general meeting notice of meeting and related documents, including your proxy documents. Currently, the Corporations Act allows virtual AGM notice of meeting documents to be delivered electronically.
However, if a shareholder has opted to have their AGM notice of meeting delivered by mail, be aware that legally, you can’t send them their notice electronically (these are the sorts of details that a virtual event manager will help you stay on top of while planning your virtual AGM).
6. Customise Your Registration Process
For a truly professional virtual AGM, consider custom branding your event registration process with your logo and corporate colours. This is difficult to do if you’re hosting your virtual AGM with Zoom, but easy to do when you choose a purpose-built virtual event platform that’s managed for you by experts.
Look for a provider who offers:
A branded registration link
Branded registration landing page to include in your notice of meeting
Branded email sequences including proxy nomination, registration confirmation, event reminders).
7. Facilitate Virtual AGM Proxy Management
Whether you’re holding your virtual AGM on Zoom, MS Teams or any other virtual event platform, ensure that proxies can be easily nominated by a verified shareholder/member during the registration process. A virtual AGM manager can help you ensure that the nominated proxy receives their notification and confirmation emails, as well as various automated email sequences, as appropriate.
8. Facilitate Verbal Q&A Sessions
The law requires that your virtual AGM provide shareholders with the same opportunity to ask questions as they would at an in-person event. As we all know, question time at AGMs can stir emotions with shareholders that need to be well managed so that your event doesn’t end in disarray.
One of the major benefits of using a managed virtual AGM provider is that you’ll have a professional Q&A moderator at your disposal. Not only will they queue and introduce speakers but they can vet questions to ensure your virtual annual general meeting stays focussed and on-track throughout.
9. Use Your Voting/Polling Features
To ensure you’re ASIC compliant, use the in-built voting features on your virtual AGM platform just as you would at your in-person AGM. It’s good to use a virtual event platform that’s built specifically for virtual AGMs as they allow for direct, live and proxy voting.
10. ASX Final Reporting
Just like your in-person AGMs, it’s essential that you provide final reporting that aligns with ASX requirements including attendance and complete voting results. You can manually pull this information if you hold your virtual AGM with Zoom or MS Teams, but it’s much easier (and more professional) to have your virtual event manager take care of this for you behind the scenes. They will collate this information for you, and turn it into a professional report that meets ASICs reporting guidelines.
11. Recording and Transcription
No matter whether your virtual AGM is held with Zoom, MS Teams or a dedicated virtual event platform, do not forget to record and transcribe the meeting for those who can’t make it to your shareholder meeting. Having the help of a virtual event manager is ideal, because they can ensure your event is recorded without any issues. Look for a virtual event provider who can also transcribe your event.
12. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
No matter whether you’re self-managing your virtual AGM or have the help of a managed virtual event or webinar provider, it’s essential to have a dress rehearsal before your big event.
At Express Virtual Meetings, we provide Australia’s leading organisations with professional, seamless and stress-free virtual AGMs that fulfil ASIC’s strict guidelines. We can work with you on your preferred virtual event platform whether it’s Zoom, MS Teams or our own feature-packed virtual event platform.