Running a business can be challenging at the best of times and, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions, geographical constraints and physical distancing rules have made these challenges even more acute. In addition, the need to remain compliant is still very much a requirement for companies, irrespective of size or structure.
Technology has come to the rescue and there has been a marked shift to digital across the board. A new wave of innovations now includes the ability for companies to hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in a virtual environment.
Remote Participation, Regulatory Compliance
A Virtual AGM platform enables companies to hold an AGM just like a physical meeting but with the added advantage that shareholders/stakeholders can easily participate remotely, from any location, such as their own offices, from home, from within the country or from overseas. This is particularly relevant for companies with a large and widespread shareholder population. All that is required is a stable internet connection.
Such Virtual AGM platforms include full proxy and electronic voting features, enabling companies to conduct their AGM in strict compliance with regulatory requirements.
One such platform is NextAGM, an affordable solution developed by the OMESTI Innovation Team of solution architects. The virtual platform was produced in close collaboration with the highly experienced OMESTI Company Secretarial team, as well as local Share Registrars and Scrutineers. Companies can conduct their AGM smoothly and efficiently, while being confident that strict security, audit and governance procedures are adhered to. Extensive Features
Participants need only register once to use the virtual platform and, following successful KYC, they can join any AGM for which they are a shareholder/director/advisor, via a secure link. The virtual AGM is conducted via live feed with the Chairman and Board of Directors participating from the client’s selected broadcast location while shareholders and/or proxies and advisors take part from their individual preferred location over laptop or mobile device. There is no limit to the number of shareholders that can take part, with all participation records captured within the platform.
During the AGM, the virtual platform allows for multiple live feeds at a time, with the key participants visible on screen at any one time. The layout can be adjusted in real-time, allowing any of the live feeds to be swapped in and out, in the event, for example, that one or other is called on by the Chairman to respond to a question.
Any questions that shareholders wish to raise to the Board can be posted via the virtual platform, both prior to and during the AGM itself, with responses as provided by the Board displayed on screen during the broadcast.
Real-Time ePolling & Verification
All resolutions are put to the vote via e-polling with shareholders casting their individual ballots in real-time over the virtual platform, all in compliance with regulatory requirements.. The votes are captured electronically and the results computed for verification by the Share Registrar and Scrutineer. Voting results are then updated live on screen once the AGM ends.
The entire meeting is recorded with the video and full transcript provided immediately following the broadcast. Other features include options for a customisable virtual background, the ability to run corporate videos/presentations on screen and play music during waiting times. A comprehensive range of meeting preparation services and associated technical support is also available.
The NextAGM virtual platform has been used by several clients to conduct their AGM, something that would otherwise not have been possible due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Going forward, the shift to digital meetings is likely to increase, helping to improve shareholder engagement while ensuring their safety.
Planning your next company AGM? Get in touch with our experienced team to learn more about our virtual platform NextAGM and how it can work for your business. We also provide a range of Digital Company Secretarial Services.