CII recently published Seven Smart Practices for Shareowner Meetings containing excellent advice for issuers on best annual meeting practices. It contains nothing that might be considered cutting edge, so should be easy for all companies to follow.
Although the guidance recommends hybrid, rather than virtual-only meetings, it contains no discussion of how electronically transmitted questions might be handled differently than in-person questions. For example, a more extensive discussion might recommend that all such questions be made visible to those attending so that it can be readily seen if softball questions are given priority.
The “Smart Practices” should be viewed as an excellent base from which to build. Here are the seven points but I encourage all to read the full discussion.
- Talk to your shareowners long before the big day.
- Make sure the meeting is reasonably accessible.
- Set fair policies for admission, disclose them clearly and enforce them consistently.
- Broaden participation without sacrificing the in-person meeting.
- Promote a substantive Q&A period.
- Treat presenters of shareowner resolutions with professionalism.
- Ensure the integrity of the vote.