It gives me great pleasure to introduce a new podcast series from The Chartered Governance Institute UK and Ireland.
This series looks at key corporate governance topics ranging from personality types in the boardroom to cryptocurrency. The first is on the intersection of the investor relations function with that of the company secretary through the lens of the annual general meeting.
Peter Fowler, from Lumi, talks about the increasing digitisation of shareholder meetings and the challenges and opportunities that this creates. As we move away from the need to hold all shareholder meetings online, the hybrid model is being adopted by many organisations as it can foster greater inclusivity and give greater control over the meeting - an issue of growing importance to some companies given the increasing level of protests and disruption from activists this AGM season - and ultimately ensure better engagement for both institutional and retail shareholders.
The use of technology can free directors from the tyranny of the Q&A pack and allow investor relations and governance teams to work behind the scenes to provide deeper and more thoughtful answers to investors’ AGM questions. Questions can be moderated so that endless repetition is avoided, and subjects clustered together to give better insight into the topics of interest to investors. And the likelihood of an unanticipated question, perhaps the biggest challenge of the traditional meeting, is significantly reduced.
Additionally, hybrid meetings can enable participation from a range of members – from those who are geographically remote, time-pressed, or simply too shy to publicly raise their voices. And, of course, the use of technology can streamline the work required to collate all questions and answers to put on the website after the meeting.
Inclusivity and collaboration are essential elements of successful business, and this podcast examines how we can use the AGM to promote the views of members and ensure their concerns are appropriately addressed. Close liaison with the investor relations team is essential to a successful annual general meeting.
The shareholder meeting is an area where the work of the governance profession is at its most visible. This discussion suggests ways in which the meeting can deliver better value for all involved.
I hope you enjoy the podcast and the rest of the series.