In connection with the COVID crisis and subsequent updates of regulations, virtual Annual General Meetings have become an integral part of corporate governance digitalisation. Soon they will be implemented in the governance of each entity due to its diverse benefits. In this post, we cover its main features and advantages.

Here are the main aspect of the article: 

  • What are virtual & hybrid AGMs?
  • How are Virtual Annual General Meetings Different from In-Person Meetings?
  • What are the benefits of moving your AGM online?
  • What features do you need to pay attention to when choosing a solution? 
    image to display a virtual meeting

    What are virtual and hybrid AGMs?

    A virtual AGM means the annual shareholder meeting is happening entirely online, including the voting workflow via a special platform. A hybrid form of AGM combines in-person and online attendance of shareholders with electronic voting.

    How Are Virtual Annual General Meetings Different from In-Person Meetings?

    Both virtual and in-person AGMs have the same structure, including agenda, questions, discussions, meeting minutes and voting workflow. Virtual meetings deliver the same set of privileges and transparency to shareholders as in-person meetings. However, potentially virtual meetings have a positive impact on annual general meetings by increasing shareholder engagement.

    What are the benefits of moving your AGM online?

    The pandemic forced entities to implement virtual meetings, but virtual meetings’ undeniable advantages secured its format to stay. Here we discuss the most evident: 

    1. Virtual format of meetings allows shareholders to participate in the decision-making process from anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection. Thus, the absence of necessity of physical attendance makes an annual general meeting more accessible to shareholders.  
    2. Digitising the meeting and voting workflows brings transparency and security to the decision-making process with immediate results, statistics and essential audit trial.
    3. The digital format and technology behind guarantees shareholder involvement and meeting communication efficiency on different stages due to its automation, notifications, and calendar synchronisation.
    4. The absence of travel necessity and digitising of meeting and voting workflows save the most valuable asset of shareholders, directors and secretaries – time. Together with time, these factors save money for entities and shareholders.
    5. Less travel by shareholders plus less paper for the meeting organisation, these factors have an ecological impact by reducing the entity’s carbon footprint.

    Therefore, virtual AGMs transform corporate governance in the direction of sustainability. Depending on the particular requirements and conditions, entities will mainly choose between two formats, either fully virtual annual general meetings or hybrid ones. 

    What features do you need to pay attention to when choosing a solution?

    A specialised platform for virtual meetings is the best method to connect the company’s decision-makers from directors, committee members to shareholders efficiently and securely in real-time. 

    To hold a successful virtual AGM, a chosen platform has to include the following features: 

    Icon for eMeeting solution, desktop with 4 people

    • Secured user authentication 
    • Enabled Notifications & automated emails
    • Videoconference tool
    • Document management 
    • Online voting & automated results
    • Audit trail
    • Technical support

    Therefore, the platform with the specified features can provide a company with a better experience of virtual or hybrid AGMs compared to traditional in-person meetings on paper.

    Conclusion

    Obviously, virtual and hybrid meetings are more beneficial for the company and its shareholders than in-person ones. For the current situation, it’s a perfect solution for entities to comply with anti-crisis measures. However, the digital meeting format increases the shareholder engagement rate due to the ease of presence. The data show a significant increase in shareholder attendance at virtual and hybrid AGMs. Simultaneously, the transformation of AGMs in virtual format reduces costs by diminishing all travel and document expenses needed for in-person meetings.

    Stampify developed a secure platform to virtually hold annual general meetings and sign them with advanced or qualified e-signatures.

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