SEC Encourages Virtual Annual Meetings

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In view of the current pandemic, the Securities and Exchange Commission has published guidelines for all market participants to provide aid with their annual shareholder meetings by encouraging “virtual” annual meetings and flexibility in rules for date and location of the meetings.

Background

Pursuant to federal securities laws, many public companies and investment companies are required to provide proxy materials to the voting shareholders in the annual meetings. Until now 30 states allowed virtual-only shareholder meetings including Delaware, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas while 41 other states including New Jersey and Connecticut allowed hybrid meetings.

What has happened?

Considering current health, transportation, and other logistical issues due to COVID 19, it has been difficult for these companies to hold in-person meetings.

What is a “Virtual” meeting?

A virtual meeting is a regular meeting minus physical presence of required parties. This can be achieved by streaming live audio or video messages. So, participants can interact with each other and the itinerary remains the same except in some situations where questions have to be submitted in advance.

SEC’s Announcement

The affected parties are advised to declare any changes in the date and location and the “virtual” meetings in their filings with the SEC, without incurring additional costs of physical mailing of proxy materials. This guidance also encourages companies to provide shareholders with alternative voting methods such as telephone. In his address the SEC chairman Jay Clayton mentioned that the commission itself has moved to “teleworking and virtual meetings and remains fully functional”.

Conclusion

We are about to witness a major change in the way the annual meetings will be held in the future after the SEC’s announcement on March 13th, 2020. We at Colonial Stock Transfer, believe “virtual” shareholder meetings will continue to gain popularity considering the convenience and considerable cost reduction.

Here’s a list of but not limited to, services that we are offering:

  • 500 attendees in-meeting room. Meeting room attendees are based on a first come, first serve basis and can join by phone or computer through registration form.
  • Unlimited viewers through live streaming private link from Youtube (optional)
  • Up to 3 company presenters with additional seats for moderators
  • Share Screen, White Board, Test & Surveys
  • Event registration with data download post meeting
  • Custom agenda
  • Post-meeting attendee report available
  • Broadcast live to Facebook, Vimeo or Youtube.
  • Call to action features
  • Analytical Reports
  • Full HD compatibility
  • Export attendee meeting data collected at registration into Excel
  • Virtual meeting invitation links posted on proxy voting portal
  • Inspector of Elections and tabulation during the meeting

Virtual Meeting Modes as follows:  (You can always do a hybrid by switching modes)

  • Presentation: Only presenters are allowed to talk. Participants listen and can chat privately with presenters.
  • Q&A: Only presenters can talk. Participants can ask for permission to speak.
  • Discussion: Up to 25 participants can talk at the same time. Others listen.

Learn more about our Virtual Meeting Services

Source: https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-62

SEC Encourages Virtual Annual Meetings
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