If there’s one thing this AGM season has proven, it’s that virtual shareholder meetings aren’t just a necessary reality, they come with a number of benefits for attendees and organisations alike.
From increased attendance numbers, higher engagement and lower costs, there’s every reason to believe that online AGMs will continue long into the future.
One question that’s often asked though is how to organise voting at your virtual AGM. Here’s everything you need to know.
The ASIC guidelines for investor meetings outline that all organisations must still provide shareholders with a reasonable opportunity to participate in shareholder meetings, just as they would at a physical event. This means providing attendees with the ability to vote but allowing voting to be conducted via a real-time poll rather than the traditional show of hands.
This also means allowing for votes to be lodged in advance of the meeting, where possible.
The easiest way to facilitate voting in advance of your AGM is to work with your virtual AGM provider to customise your event and plan the Notice of Meeting, registration and verification process. Sending out an agenda that covers the expected decision points that will arise and instructions on how to vote by proxy will guide attendees who can’t make it to the event on how to have their say.
Don’t rush through the agenda points that require voting. Attendees should be given enough time to make up their mind without being too stressed. Leave a few minutes between topics to think, cast their vote and move onto the next discussion.
In a physical AGM, attendees can get a feel for group sentiment as people raise their hands to vote and know the results instantly. You can organise the same process in a virtual AGM by working with a managed virtual event provider who can facilitate real-time voting and polls. Attendees will be able to submit their votes through the platform, which will then be automatically tallied and either announced or displayed to the group for a seamless voting experience.
Your communications in the lead up to your virtual AGM should clearly outline how your voting process will work. Let them know whether your meeting will be an audio conference or video conference, the technology they will need to access the meeting and detailed steps on how to participate. Keep in mind that not everyone has the same level of technical experience, so having a few options on how to join the meeting will be highly beneficial. Using a reputable provider with a smooth and simple interface will also be hugely important in creating a user experience that is inclusive and will make for a successful online shareholder meeting.
Having an impartial host and/or moderator for your event doesn’t just increase shareholder confidence in your processes, it allows for better voting systems. Agendas don’t always go to plan and there may be discussions that arise that require on-the-fly voting. Having a moderator running your meeting will allow for seamless spontaneous voting and help guide discussions so that the meeting doesn’t run overtime or lose direction. Good virtual AGM platforms will provide you with a moderator and voting tools that allow for questions and polls to be added quickly, when required.
Just as you would keep minutes and record voting results at your physical AGM, your virtual meeting should also be recorded for auditing purposes and to supply to shareholders who couldn’t make it. Your roundup should include an overview of events as well as any voting results. Choose a virtual AGM provider who can record your meeting and results seamlessly from their end so that you don’t have to go through the stress involved in trying to record votes or your overall meeting yourself.
Even if you have a managed virtual event provider taking care of everything for you, ask them lots of questions about how the voting process works and have a thorough practice run during your rehearsals. This will give you a thorough understanding of the system in the lead up to your online AGM.
The platform that you choose to host your virtual AGM is critical to the success of the event. Look for a provider with extensive experience in managed virtual events and who can offer 24/7 support in the lead up, during and post-event. Technical glitches have the potential to disrupt your meeting, so also ensure that your provider can monitor your event and troubleshoot on-the-go if the need arises.
Express Virtual Meetings have been helping organisations across Australia host successful conferencing events since 2001, and have a wealth of experience producing great results for our clients.
Let our experts organise voting at your next virtual AGM so you can concentrate on the important business of hosting a productive meeting that helps you reach your objectives.
Get in touch with the team today to see how we can help you.
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