Virtual AGMs driving up shareholder engagement, says Lumi
Shareholders are more engaged in the AGM this year, according to new numbers published by AGM provider Lumi.
It says that while ‘some technology providers have noted a downward trend in shareholder attendance, citing apathy among stakeholder bases, and a lack of active engagement… at Lumi, our global client base has experienced the reverse.’
Acknowledging that many 2020 meetings were either pre-recorded or held behind closed doors as companies were ‘straitjacketed by the shock arrival of coronavirus when planning their AGM’, Lumi says the rise of shareholder presence in 2021 is ‘undeniable’.
The service provider says that in the first half of this year 2,756 virtual meetings were conducted across its global customer base, with a total of 180,360 shareholders attending. Those numbers compare with 982 meetings in the first half of 2020 with 23,785 shareholders in attendance.
The number of messages sent during meetings via Lumi’s system has also massively increased from 6,092 in H1 2020 to 49,427 in the first half of this year. ‘The average number of questions asked at any given meeting has risen from six to a new high of 17,’ the company adds.
Although many companies held virtual meetings in 2020, these did not always replicate the previous in-person experience, says Richard Taylor, CEO of Lumi, in a press statement. ‘For example, some organizations could only share an audiocast that shareholders listened to live, some could only send a recording after the event and other meetings were held behind closed doors entirely.’
This year, with more time to plan ahead, Taylor says many companies have been trying to hold their virtual meetings in a way that allows shareholders to be more actively involved.
There are regional differences, however. Lumi’s data shows that France has gone from no virtual meetings in 2019 to 94 percent in 2021, though it notes that ‘many French companies are still choosing to hold AGMs behind closed doors in 2021, exploiting temporary legislation allowing them to do so.’
Meanwhile, the UK, Hong Kong and the Netherlands are already moving to a hybrid meeting model – which Taylor predicts to be the future of AGMs. These types of meetings accounted for 34 percent, 45 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of all meetings in those countries this year.
May 6, 2021
With so many AGMs during May and June, companies should be aware of how many meetings can take place on a single day.
‘Over the course of May 2021 alone, the Lumi platform hosted 854 meetings,’ notes the firm. ‘For listed companies and membership associations alike, many stakeholders will be battling against myriad meetings taking place on the same day, often having to prioritize one meeting over another.’
May 6 was the busiest day of the year on the Lumi platform, when 72 different AGMs were hosted, followed by May 20 with 68 meetings. February 27 and May 27 then share third place, with 66 meetings held on each day.