Will Virtual Events Kill the Traditional AGM?
In the lead up to AGM season, many companies are looking to reduce the time and costs associated with holding their AGMs.
As the geographical spread of companies and their shareholders grows wider, many are turning to webcasting and virtual events to host their announcements digitally. The US has lead the push to a more virtual format in recent years, though International interest is growing with many South African based companies reporting great success with hybrid announcements.
During last year’s AIRA Annual Conference, Computershare’s managing director praised the virtual AGM, stating that an “AGM revolution” is underway as companies embrace the cost savings and increased attendance rates offered by virtual meetings. The format isn’t praised by everyone though. The debate is often polarised, with one side wanting to preserve the traditional physical format, and the other wanting to move completely to virtual meetings and wave goodbye to the physical AGM forever.
The compromise is often a hybrid solution, which allows companies to offer a virtual option in tandem with the physical event.
What is a hybrid AGM?
As the name suggests, a hybrid AGM combines the usual physical event with some form of virtual component, usually in the form of a webcast or stream.
The speakers present from the room as normal and remote participants can see and hear the presentation through the webcast. All parties are able to vote, ask questions and participate in the call unless otherwise specified (e.g. no media.)
The benefits of hybrid AGMs
The benefits of hosting a hybrid AGM cannot be understated. Many companies who have made the transition report that offering a virtual attendance option allows them to:
- Increase shareholder attendance and participation
Virtual meetings remove barriers such as cost and travel and provide more options to attend and vote. Because shareholders are able to attend from anywhere (and on any of their personal devices) many companies enjoy greater participation by shareholders across a larger geographic spread.
- Increase accessibility to analysts and institutional investors
Virtual announcements allow institutional investors to sit in on multiple announcements per day. During busy reporting seasons, this is crucial as calls are often held within very tight timeframes.
- Reduce costs
Costs such as venue hire, catering and travel are all reduced when hosting a hybrid announcement (and completely eliminated when going fully virtual)
How do I host a hybrid announcement?
Coordinating a live and virtual event simultaneously can seem like a daunting task for the uninitiated, but getting started is as simple as choosing the right provider. When it comes to Investor Relations, it’s important to choose a conferencing provider with experience in the industry and the flexibility to provide custom events solutions.
Chorus Call has facilitated hybrid AGMs and financial announcements for many of Africa’s largest institutions. Book a free demo and we can show you exactly what our services can do.