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Virtual AGMs are the new normal in Covid times

May 9 2021: Leading  global teleconferencing solutions provider Chorus Call India,  recently organized a virtual symposium to delve into the nuances of shareholder management in the virtual world.
Citing their  experiences,  panelists threw light on how virtual AGMs resulted in higher shareholder participation and engagement and how they are looking to shift from week-long roadshows to virtual platforms.
Using technological solutions such as those offered by Chorus Call, organizations  including Nestle India, Tata Communications, Crompton Greaves Electrical and Hindustan Zinc  have successfully navigated challenges around two-way communication or around voting.  
Host and convener of the session, Jerry Bindra, Managing Director, Chorus Call India said, “We all knew that video will be the next big thing in the collaboration solution industry and over the course of the last one year we have become more comfortable with video conferencing calls for businesses. As the hybrid workplace becomes a reality, one of the key priorities for leaders today is how to keep stakeholders engaged. Constant engagement through virtual meetings, whether it is AGMs, quarterly earnings calls, CEO town halls has become increasingly crucial for organizations.  At Chorus Call have delivered over 4,000 virtual meetings over the course of the last year, working towards creating a more permanent solution that fits the hybrid world.”
Although the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has now allowed AGMs to be conducted through VC on or before December 31, 2021, it has in the latest circular made it clear there is no blanket extension this time round for companies, especially for those that had to conduct AGMs by December 31, 2020.  According to  industry reports, virtual AGMs have seen better turnouts with practically no technical glitches and no interruptions from combative shareholders, giving the comfort to CXOs to move their engagements online.
From a Chorus Call blog: What is a hybrid AGM?
As the name suggests, a hybrid AGM combines the usual physical event with some form of virtual component, usually in the form of a webcast or stream.
The speakers present from the room as normal and remote participants can see and hear the presentation through the webcast. All parties are able to vote, ask questions and participate in the call unless otherwise specified (e.g. no media.)
The benefits of hybrid AGMs
The benefits of hosting a hybrid AGM cannot be understated. Many companies who have made the transition report that offering a virtual attendance option allows them to:

  • Increase shareholder attendance and participation
    Virtual meetings remove barriers such as cost and travel and provide more options to attend and vote. Because shareholders are able to attend from anywhere (and on any of their personal devices) many companies enjoy greater participation by shareholders across a larger geographic spread.
  • Increase accessibility to analysts and institutional investors
    Virtual announcements allow institutional investors to sit in on multiple announcements per day. During busy reporting seasons, this is crucial as calls are often held within very tight timeframes.
  • Reduce costs
    Costs such as venue hire, catering and travel are all reduced when hosting a hybrid announcement (and completely eliminated when going fully virtual)