Reed Smith Client Alerts

Jimmy Choo became the first UK-listed company to host a virtual-only annual general meeting in 2016. A ‘virtual-only’ general meeting is a shareholder meeting that is held without a physical place of meeting and through the use of online technology only (e.g., via conference call dial-in, a web browser or app technology). A ‘hybrid’ shareholder meeting is a meeting where there is a physical place of meeting as well as remote electronic access. The Investment Association issued a position statement in December 2017 and the GC100 published results in January 2018 of a poll conducted among members relating to virtual-only and hybrid general meetings. In this alert, we review the poll results, along with the advantages and disadvantages of virtual meetings, to gauge the trends we can expect to see in the UK.

Authors: Delphine Currie Nicola A. Delaney

GC100 poll results

62 per cent of GC100 members participating in the poll indicated that their companies are planning to change their articles of association to permit virtual-only and/or hybrid general meetings. Of these companies, approximately one third proposed to permit hybrid meetings only. One quarter of participants no longer believed that a physical AGM format was still valuable. There was a mixed response when members were asked if virtual-only AGMs are the way forward: just over half of the respondents thought virtual-only AGMs may be a viable option in the future. 60 per cent of members indicated a current preference for hybrid meetings, as these provide greater flexibility and allow shareholders to participate in the way which best suits them.