We all understand how critical the voting process is during AGMs. The ability to offer shareholders the opportunity to participate in voting is one of the key factors underpinning the corporate regulator’s continued support for organisations that choose to hold their AGMs online during the pandemic.
So how can you manage voting using an online event platform to make it easy for shareholders to participate and engage with your organisation?
In the 18 months since the pandemic made virtual AGMs both an available and necessary option for many organisations, many virtual platforms have adapted to accommodate the online voting processes AGMs require.
It’s best to work with your virtual AGM provider to customise your event and plan the Notice of Meeting, registration and verification process.
Before an AGM, shareholders should receive information on topics to be voted on at the meeting. These may include share ownership, the structure of the board of directors, and executive remuneration, such as salary and other benefits.
Proxy materials may be made available to shareholders online, including your annual report, a proxy statement describing the issues to be voted on, and a proxy card with voting instructions.
These materials may also be sent as hard copies in the mail.
Make sure you send out an agenda that clearly informs all shareholders on the issues to be decided and voted upon, and provides instructions on how to vote by proxy or at the virtual AGM itself.
When it comes to how to handle proxy voting online before the proxy voting deadline, talk to your virtual event provider.
Your virtual AGM platform must be reliable, with built-in technical redundancy to ensure your shareholders a smooth online experience, offer verifiable results, and be able to satisfy all your voting requirements.
Each platform handles this in different ways, so your individual supplier will be best placed to provide instructions and advice.
Looking for a tried and tested workflow for Virtual AGMs – access it here!
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission favours technology that enables live voting during your virtual AGM, so you may want to consider using online polls on your technology platform to capture and record votes during your event in a secure, verifiable way.
Your provider should also be able to assist with how to tabulate live and proxy voting during the event.
As you work through these considerations, some issues to consider include:
- Who will help to facilitate the online voting process at your AGM?
- How will you handle motions and the passing or rescinding of resolutions?
- How any proxy voting will be carried out, tabulated and communicated to shareholders
- All shareholders should have an opportunity to vote and sufficient time to decide how to vote
- You can simulate an in-the-room show of hands by announcing or displaying live vote results to your online audience
- All parts of your virtual AGM — including each voting process — should be rehearsed prior to the event to ensure all participants understand how to use the technology
- If you will be tabulating votes during the event other than via real-time live online polling, you may wish to play a pre-recorded video to keep attendees engaged during the intervening period
- It’s essential to provide live local technical support to ensure your moderator, presenters and shareholders alike are able to access and use the technology as required without untimely delays.
However complex or simple your virtual AGM voting needs, putting your online voting in the hands of an experienced online event provider will take the risk out of your virtual AGM and enable you to deliver a smooth, professional and highly accountable shareholder event.