Our client, a listed financial services company, was due to hold their AGM in early May just as covid-19 struck. Throughout the year the company was in the media and the AGM always received publicity. Nerves were high and a spotlight was on the Deputy Company Secretary to deliver in this new legal environment. With the meeting date fast approached changes to the law were still unknown.
We came in, worked with the Deputy Company Secretary, and advised on the best approach. The company wanted to use its usual video conferencing provider for the virtual meeting element. The CFO was determined to retain live Q&A to augment the shareholder experience and we made this work fully remotely. 50% of the board were based or ‘stuck’ overseas due to travel restrictions, yet everyone attended seamlessly. We fed audience questions to the CFO in the room remotely with various risk mitigation processes in place in case the technology failed.
We worked alongside the Registrars, brokers and other parties to provide a seamless hybrid AGM. The only shareholder criticism was that the standard of biscuits choice at home was poor. The CFO sent him a box of biscuits in good humour.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA – the conduct regulator for around 50,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK) commended our client on leading the sector in maintaining shareholder engagement with its live AGM Q&A functionality. The board were pleased with the delivery of the AGM and grateful for our work. The Deputy Company Secretary was impressed with our ability to always be one step ahead of the legal changes and to proactively seek to reduce the pressure on the team.