The Annual General Meeting (AGM) provides the members and shareholders of the company with the opportunity to discuss the company’s affairs over the past year and to partake in AGM voting. During the meeting, the Board of Directors presents the annual report, which contains information for shareholders on the performance and strategy of the company.
At a general meeting, shareholders exercise their voting rights in matters relating to the company and, as usual, in the election of the Board of Directors. Shareholders vote on matters other than the election of the Board of Directors at a general meeting.
The AGM is held annually to enable invested shareholders to decide on the future course of action of their company by voting on the appointment of the Board of Directors and the issues at stake. Consolidating the annual highlights of a company is of crucial importance, as the Annual General Meeting serves as an opportunity to collect approval for shareholder resolutions, vote on board elections and sometimes to discuss corporate governance. It is also the way for directors to present the company’s strategy and performance, and for shareholders to take part in the survey to decide how to proceed on the issues facing the company.
It is recommended that all members and stakeholders of the Company are informed at least 21 days before the opening of the annual general meeting and disclose important details such as location, date, time, location, specific agenda and minutes of the meeting, or published online. As far as possible, a notice to the General Meeting members with details of the meeting, including date and time, place and information on the elections. If the meeting is scheduled by the directors of the Board of Directors, a notification of the meeting should be distributed to all interested parties.
Shareholders grant proxies to a small number of directors present in person to vote in the Annual General Meeting on their behalf. Meeting organizers must ensure that the meeting promotes shareholder engagement, as shareholder engagement can damage a company’s reputation. Companies can promote shareholder engagement at the Annual General Meeting by offering and managing the virtual participation of participants.
Proxies, remote meetings, and video conferencing will be encouraged to ensure that everyone can communicate with the AGM without prior notice. Real-time webcasts of the meeting will ensure that shareholders can attend the meeting as usual.
Plans should include setting a date and time, downloading, and buying the necessary online meeting platforms and sending meeting materials and links to attendees a minimum of one week before the Annual General Meeting.
The Annual General Meeting is an ideal time for shareholders to put questions to the management. The minutes of the meeting will be recorded by the company secretary. The file lays down the date, time and place of the Annual General Meeting, the remuneration of executives, material matters concerning the company and its shareholders, and the election and nomination of directors.
Immediately after the Annual General Meeting, there should be a detailed report from your Board of Management and management team on the feedback from shareholders and meaningful investor trends that have developed during the proxy season. Prepare the company to look beyond the raw numbers to understand the factors that triggered shareholder support levels and to examine any discrepancies between what investors had to say and the committed efforts in the run-up to your annual meeting and its vote.
Although it is claimed that the Annual General Meeting (especially in its current form) retains a valid and important role in sound corporate governance practices, it is recognised that there is room for improvement to ensure its future effectiveness and vitality in governance. The emerging improvements and changes in the regulatory landscape of companies coincide with a decrease in the relative importance of annual general meetings (AGMs) compared to previous years. When assessing annual general meetings of companies, it may be worth thinking about what shareholders and investors have gained in accountability and transparency in recent decades from their boards and companies and what has decreased the importance of annual general meetings.
A virtual Annual General Meeting does not meet the legal requirements of the provisions for a purely virtual Annual General Meeting in a corporate constitution. Companies are not allowed to postpone their annual general meetings, and virtual platforms are seeing a surge in board meeting occupancy. In some cases, changes may be made to the Annual General Meeting that is urgent enough to call an Extraordinary General Meeting.