Virtual annual general meetings and members’ assemblies

For stock companies the annual general meeting is one of the most important decision-making bodies. In 2021 these can now also be held purely virtually, provided that the entire event is broadcast in sound and vision and shareholders can ask questions, vote and, if necessary, object.

We stream your annual meeting in high quality either from one of our studios or set up a streaming studio at your company/association headquarters.

We have summarized the most important questions and answers about virtual general meetings for you here:

Where does the annual meeting take place?

While the shareholders participate as guests from the office or their private rooms on the monitor, for the company as host there are legally and technically these possible locations for a purely digital or a hybrid annual meeting:

  1. At the company location
  2. At a selected external venue
  3.  In a streaming studio equipped for this purpose
How do participants register?

Hosts use the channels and applications that have worked so far and simply add to the participation link provided by the streaming service provider. Ask your service provider in advance what IT recommendations you can tell participants, such as browser and firewall recommendations.

How much lead time does a virtual annual meeting need?

Depending on the scope of the event, you can expect around 8 weeks’ lead time, which generally allows for shorter planning than face-to-face events.

How do I deal with questions from shareholders?

Stock companies are not obliged to answer questions during the annual meetuing. However, since 2021, unlike in 2020, shareholders have a right to submit questions up to 1 day before the annual meeting is held. There is currently no obligation to allow questions during the annual meeting. Technically, however, this is possible.

Are there any limits to participation by shareholders?

The transmission is internet-based and therefore there are practically no limits – neither to the location of the virtual visitor nor to the number of participants connected. This makes participation for shareholders from abroad even more attractive than before, so that many stock corporations have already had a strikingly large number of (virtual) visitors at their annual general meetings.

How do the votes work?

For voting purposes, the legislator has compiled criteria for so-called statute-compliant software that must be fulfilled for a quorum to be binding. Several programs now meet these criteria. Your service provider will coordinate the choice of program with you and integrate it into the technical setup for the live stream.

What happens if there is a technical “dropout” during the event

It is the task of your service provider to ensure in advance that all risks for this are minimized and, after consultation, double-insured as part of a rehearsal. If you choose a professional and experienced service provider, a team of experts will always be at your side, on site or virtually, to intervene at any minute with an appropriate backup solution if necessary.

Is a recording of the anual meeting available afterwards?

Yes, the entire livestream can be recorded and delivered. This is even an advantage over face-to-face events, where passages with questions from the participants can be problematic due to personal rights.

Is a virtual annual meeting more expensive or cheaper than a face-to-face event?

Of course, a certain amount of effort is required to ensure that the event runs smoothly and securely using specific IT applications. You should also pay attention to representative quality for image, sound, lighting, camera work and background design.

But compared to the costs of a face-to-face event with local event technology, catering, service staff on site plus room rental if necessary, the costs for a virtual annual meeting are significantly lower.

How can I involve my PR department?

The successful execution of a virtual annual meeting can be a very attractive PR content. Several companies have already taken advantage of this by turning the annual meeting into an event with moderation and a supporting program.

During the annual meeting, for example, they were able to address targeted messages to their shareholders with film clips, live broadcasts of selected guest speakers, or digitally prepared information that was available in advance.

 

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