Be prepared for the virtual AGM
We are rapidly approaching the 2021 AGM season and, in the same way as in 2020, companies need to navigate the planning process, while taking the Covid-19 restrictions into consideration. Only relatively few Danish companies tried out the partly or fully virtual AGM format in 2020, but with the current restrictions on in-person gatherings that will be a necessity in 2021, and many questions will arise.
The VP technical solution for the virtual AGM is in place
VP has developed a well-functioning solution that can facilitate both the fully and the partly virtual AGM – and ensure that it is easy for shareholders to engage and exercise their shareholder rights online.
The solution in brief:
- Via the platform it is possible to:
- Participate via PC, tablet or smartphone, typically by logging in using NemID
- Watch the AGM as a livestream
- Ask questions/make comments via the messaging feature
- Vote online
- Present shareholder proposals via the livestream or a pre-produced video at the AGM
- Send information from the company to participants during the AGM
- Just before and during the AGM, VP sets up a hotline to guide shareholders with questions or problems concerning their online participation.
Approval of new regulation facilitating virtual AGMs
At the end of December 2020, the Danish government approved an amendment to the Danish Companies Act which extends the authority granted earlier in 2020 to deviate from provisions in companies’ articles of association requiring that general meetings be held as physical meetings. The amendment gives a company’s management the option, without authority under the company's articles of association, to hold a fully or a partly virtual general meeting, and it will apply until 31 December 2021.
Information to shareholders and careful planning are key
The partly or fully AGM set-up makes new demands of everyone involved in the planning and holding of the AGM.
On drafting the exact wording of the notice convening the AGM in 2021, companies should ensure that as much as possible is done to keep shareholders informed of how the AGM will be conducted, how they can participate and vote and, in particular, how they can ask questions, and how and when those questions will be answered.
Companies might also consider establishing a dedicated area of the website for ongoing information about the AGM and/or establishing a dedicated email service to allow shareholders to ask questions about the meeting.
Prior to holding the AGM, a trial run is recommended, to make sure that the electronic system functions well and that the parties involved know exactly how to go through and handle the individual processes during the meeting.
In addition to the purely technical issues, the individual company, and also the chair, must be aware that the partly or fully virtual format naturally presents a new framework for how the AGM is conducted, compared to the normal physical meeting. It is important to think virtual from the outset and adapt to the new media. For example, it is important that the management’s report and the accompanying presentation are adapted to the new format and that the technical format and the handling and approach of the management and chairman, including the handling of the debate, support shareholder democracy and involvement.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the planning of the AGM or you would like to receive further information on our solution for the partly or fully virtual AGM.