Thinking about the future, all we can see are technological advancements, flying cars, and teleportations. We may have watched too many futuristic movies because that is not the future we should ponder on. Practically speaking, the future must all be about innovation, optimization, and efficiency. The future that we should look forward to is the one that solves our problems. The same goes with meetings — the future should be a solution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon consequences that we only think of in the far future — shifting entirely to digital. Team meetings, project management, collaborative events, board meetings, business operations — all are now conducted virtually. Fortunately, electronic AGM solutions have been developed to cater to our remote processes.
Table of Contents
- What are AGMs?
- What do shareholders discuss in annual general meetings?
- Is it possible to hold AGMs post-pandemic?
- What are electronic AGMs?
- What to consider in conducting electronic AGMs?
What are AGMs?
AGMs, or annual general meetings, are meetings done yearly by boards and shareholders to discuss annual reports and decisions. Public and private companies are often mandated to hold annual general meetings in order to inform shareholders of the company’s whereabouts in the previous year. Nonetheless, in cases where meetings must be held in between two AGMs, extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) must take place.
The persons who primarily attends annual general meetings are the following:
- Board of directors
- Senior Executives
- Company Secretary
- Company auditor or auditing team
Under the Company Act of 2006, shareholders who cannot attend the annual general meeting must send a proxy to partake and vote in the meeting on their behalf.
A successful and effective annual general meeting needs to follow the AGM agenda. Most companies follow the templated format of annual general meetings. The matters that should be discussed in this type of meeting are the following:
- Approval of the last year’s AGM minutes
- Presentation of financial reports
- Declaration and payment of dividends
- Presentation of directors’ reports
- Board election
- Revision of the organization’s constitution (only when applicable)
- Other motions and resolutions
Shareholders and representatives have the right to ask questions at any part of the meeting proceedings. This is to ensure that shareholders are fully aware of the company’s health and actions. Any proposed motions and resolutions during the annual general meeting can be resolved during the AGM itself or through an extraordinary general meeting.
Is it possible to hold AGMs post-pandemic?
With the safety restrictions and social distancing measures implemented by countries worldwide, physical meetings have been postponed or canceled. This resulted in meetings being conducted virtually.
Remote meetings have been on the rise for a while now with video conferencing platforms seeing a surge in downloads and usage. While most meetings have been conducted through Zoom, MS Teams, or other video conferencing software, AGMs need a dedicated platform to accommodate functionalities and security.
What are electronic AGMs?
Electronic annual general meetings, or eAGMs, are general meetings that utilize electronic means of communication and operation. This could be through audio and video conferencing software or online meeting platforms. There are two classifications of electronic AGMs: virtual AGMs and hybrid AGMs Virtual annual general meetings are AGMs that are conducted entirely remotely and virtually. Presentations, discussions, and elections are done completely online. The venue of the meeting is on a virtual event platform, and there is no physical contact between the attendees.
Hybrid AGMs, on the other hand, are a fusion of in-person and virtual annual general meetings. Hybrid AGMs allow participants to attend either in the physical venue or remotely. However, a limited number of attendees must be set in the physical location.
What to consider in conducting electronic AGMs?
Shifting from on-site AGMs to electronic meetings calls for considerations as major elements are compromised. Below are some things to consider.
eAGMs must comply with State Laws
Depending on where the company or organization has been established, there are statutory rules on the formats of annual general meetings. Some areas may not allow virtual AGMs, so it is vital to review the compliance of AGMs with state laws.
Look for an appropriate venue and hardware
Virtual and hybrid AGMs heavily rely on the technological hardware needed such as stable bandwidth, microphones, and broadcast equipment. Invest in a fast and reliable internet connection to make sure that there will be no delays in the webcast of the AGM. Moreover, perform dry-runs to check that the hardware is functioning properly.
Prepare agenda and reports
Ensure that the agenda and copy of the reports have been distributed to the attendees beforehand. This will allow shareholders to review the discussion points and raise questions during the actual annual general meeting.
Select the right AGM software
The most suitable platform for your AGMs is the one that solves your annual general meeting needs. Conducting your AGM in virtual or hybrid needs to ensure that it mimics the shareholder engagement in physical AGMs. Choose software that enables live voting and live discussion. Moreover, take note of the security features of the AGM platform.
With the right software and hardware, holding electronic AGMs can be successful and effective. Embrace the future of annual general meetings. Look for the most suitable online AGM platform for your business.
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