08 March 2019 by Kirsty-Anne Jasper
Hybrid meetings are the future of stakeholder engagement
As we approached AGM season, the ICSA partnered with Lumi, the leading global provider of hybrid and virtual meeting technology for AGMs, and legal specialists DWF Law, to debate and discuss the principles and practicalities of running hybrid meetings at an event which was held on 5th December 2018 at 20 Fenchurch Street, The Walkie Talkie building.
As companies are increasingly looking at hybrid formats, which combine the characteristics of traditional and virtual meetings, there is increasing discussion about the issues which surround them. As such, Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at ICSA: The Governance Institute shared highlights from ICSA’s recent 21st Century AGM report, Pete Fowler, MD Lumi, explained how hybrid events actually work, Jo Randle, CEO of Aspect took us through AV requirements and Matthew Doughty, Corporate Partner at DWF Law, explored the legal consideration that is required in order to make hybrid AGMs a practical reality.
“companies are embracing new technologies in order to ensure maximum stakeholder engagement”
The event was a lively discussion and insight into how companies are embracing new technologies in order to ensure maximum stakeholder engagement, in line with requirements from the new Corporate Governance Code. Anecdotal evidence shows that AGMs where there has been an electronic component have had greater attendance than those in a traditional format. Additionally, any costs involved in setting up the telecommunications technology needed for a successful virtual or hybrid AGM are offset by savings in travel, catering and venue hire costs-as well as being far more environmentally friendly.
Practical considerations need to be made in terms of ensuring that you have the right equipment, provisions within your companies Articles, and technical know-how to ensure that AGMs are run in a secure, supportive and efficient manner. However, overall these considerations are easily overcome with a little forethought-particularly for larger companies with bigger budgets. By running hybrid AGMs, companies are opening up the meeting to stakeholders who may otherwise have struggled to make a physical meeting, and leading their firms into the future.