Newswise – Newark, NJ, December 10, 2020 – A working group made up of representatives of public companies and investors published today a report on Recommended Business Practices for Virtual Shareholders’ Meetings. The report also reflects the contribution of a steering committee made up of leading providers of virtual meeting services for shareholders and prominent corporate governance leaders.
With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to reduce many face-to-face shareholder meetings again in 2021, the report provides valuable advice for companies planning to hold virtual meetings next year and for shareholders who wish to participate more. fully at these meetings.
The report describes trends as well as evolving practices for virtual meetings and updates a 2018 report from a similar industry committee that outlined principles and best practices for virtual shareholder meetings.
Darla Stuckey, Co-Chair and CEO of the Working Group, Company for Corporate Governance, said: “The aim of the working group is to provide practical and actionable advice for virtual shareholder meetings that will benefit both the companies that plan and execute the meetings, as well as the shareholders who attend them. “
Amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, more state-owned companies than ever have held their annual meetings of shareholders in a purely virtual format, allowing participation only via the Internet: 2,367 companies in the United States have opted for virtual annual meetings in the first half of 2020, up from 318 and 266 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Many companies have been forced by quarantines and restrictions on in-person gatherings to move quickly to virtual annual meetings during annual proxy season, posing challenges and opportunities for companies and shareholders.
Amy Borrus, Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Working Group, Advising Institutional Investors, said: “This report represents a collaborative effort by shareholders and companies to make virtual meetings more participatory for shareholders. While virtual meetings may not fully replicate traditional in-person meetings, the report is a useful guide for businesses and investors to ensure that virtual meetings deliver a more in-person meeting experience. “
The working group encourages companies to experiment with innovative practices and different types of digital communication to improve the virtual meeting experience for their shareholders.
Douglas Chia, leader of the working group and fellow, Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance, said: “By providing shareholders with a simpler and more economical way to attend the meeting, virtual shareholder meeting technology has the potential to make the annual meeting a more important part of the engagement of the shareholders. ” a company with its shareholders, including on environmental, social and governance issues. (ESG) ”.
The full report can be downloaded from https://cclg.rutgers.edu/.
About the multi-stakeholder working group
Convened in 2020 by the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance to address the dramatic increase in the use of virtual platforms for annual meetings of shareholders, attendees included representatives from:
British Columbia Investment Management Company (BCI)
California State Teachers Retirement System
Advising Institutional Investors
General Motors Company
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Mercy Investment Services, Inc.
New York City Comptroller’s Office
Bank of regions
Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance
Company for Corporate Governance
South Jersey Industries, Inc.
State Street Global Advisors
- Rowe Prize
The group’s steering committee included representatives from:
Boston Trust Walden
Broadridge Financial Solutions
Carl T. Hagberg and associates
EQ by Equiniti
SEC, Investor Advisory Committee
A complete list of the members of the working group and the steering committee is available in the report.