Virtual shareholder meetings continue to rise in popularity, with 236 companies holding virtual meetings in 2017 and at least 300 expected to do so in 2018, according to updated facts and figures recently released by Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (Broadridge).
Some of the most noteworthy statistics in Broadridge’s report on virtual meetings held in 2017 are:
- 90 percent were virtual-only meetings, of which 97 percent were conducted with live audio and three percent used live video.
- 57 percent of the companies holding virtual meetings were small-cap, 26 percent were mid-cap and 17 percent were large-cap.
- 98 percent of companies allowed questions to be submitted online during the live meeting.
In addition, Broadridge recently published a white paper titled “Principles and Best Practices for Virtual Annual Shareowner Meetings.” The paper was jointly authored by a 17-member committee of interested constituents, comprised of retail and institutional investors, public company representatives, and proxy and legal service providers. As The Ticker has previously discussed, there is debate over virtual shareholder meetings. While proponents cite cost savings and increased shareholder participation, critics argue that virtual meetings allow companies to restrict the ability of shareholders to have their questions and concerns heard. After acknowledging the various perspectives on this debate, the committee’s paper sets forth detailed best practices and includes a handy appendix summarizing applicable state laws.