Link Group has launched its ‘integrated voice and online shareholder meeting service’, which the company believes will take meetings into the new age. Importantly, it allows more shareholders to attend more meetings.
The announcement of the formal offering was at the annual general meeting of Z Energy in New Zealand last week. The company supplies fuel across New Zealand. A total of 85 people in New Zealand and Australia ‘attended’ the meeting, whereby 30 attended in person, 53 online and two via the dial-in option.
Link’s first virtual meeting was, perhaps appropriately, also in New Zealand, for the Wellington-headquartered Xero accounting systems disrupter company, which has spawned several other fintechs based in that city. It was also a hybrid of physical attendees and those online. Link orchestrated that in July last year.
The second was also a hybrid, for Link itself, at its Australian annual general meeting last November.
Under the system, online and dial-in shareholders are able to not only listen to the meeting but also ask questions and vote on resolutions. They can do this on their dial-in pad on their smart phones. Shareholders who attend in person can also use the Link smart phone app, LinkVote, to vote their shares.
Paul Gardiner, Link’s chief executive of its corporate markets division, said: “The annual meeting is transforming, as shareholder demand drives innovation in the development of more convenient ways to participate in annual meetings and communicate with the boards.
“We envisage technology playing an increasing role in annual meetings as they transition from face to face to hybrid structures and, perhaps, to entirely virtual affairs in the not-too-distant future,” he said.
“The enduring benefit of having a telephone component is that it adds a human element to the virtual process, allowing participants to ask questions and engage with the board in real time.”
Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)