Virtual Annual General Meeting: safe & sustainable
The format of the virtual Annual General Meeting has proven its worth. In July 2022, the German Bundestag approved a law on virtual annual general meetings of stock corporations with a broad majority. This means that the virtual AGMs of stock corporations, which were introduced temporarily during the Corona pandemic, will also be possible on a permanent basis in the future. In addition to general meetings of stock corporations, general meetings of cooperatives can also be held in virtual form permanently.
Virtual AGM: Virtual, hybrid, or on-site – equivalent formats
The pandemic-related special regulation on digital shareholders’ meetings was replaced, not least because it did not allow shareholders’ rights to be exercised to the same extent as in the case of a presence or hybrid meeting. For instance, the new law eliminates the possibility of limiting the matters to be discussed at a virtual shareholders’ meeting. Meanwhile, the virtual format is equal to that of the on-site event.
Extension of the Stock Corporation Act by 2 new paragraphs – Virtual Haput Assembly Act
The new sections 118a “Virtual shareholders’ meeting” and 130a “Right to comment and speak at virtual shareholders’ meetings” will now enable stock corporations to hold shareholders’ meetings in the future as on-site events, hybrid meetings, or entirely virtual events. The purpose of the amendment to the law is to align the meeting procedure and the execution of shareholders’ rights as closely as possible with the on-site meeting proceedings.
Virtual Annual General Meeting Law: Requirements
The German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) specifies the following requirements for conducting a virtual shareholders’ meeting:
- Übertragung der gesamten Versammlung mit Bild und Ton an Aktionäre und Aktionärinnen
- A parallel, public transmission may be restricted in time without prejudice to this
- Voting rights of shareholders may be executed by electronic communication.
- Proposals, voting suggestions and right to speak via video communication
- Right to submit comments and objections to a decision of the Annual General Meeting (section 130a, 1-4) via electronic communication
- Statements must be submitted no later than five days before the meeting. The statements submitted must be made available to all shareholders no later than four days before the meeting.
- The report of the Board of Directors or its contents is to be submitted to the shareholders at least 7 days before the meeting.
- The Board of Management may stipulate that questions must be submitted by electronic communication no later than 3 days before the meeting.
Legal compliance of your virtual shareholders’ meeting
Conducting a virtual shareholder meeting comes with a number of challenges. In addition to the preparation of the content of the Annual General Meeting, ensuring sufficient technical support is a crucial point that needs to be considered.
Secure and redundant connections
To ensure technical reliability, a virtual AGM requires more extensive planning in advance – from setting up the virtual platform to the legally compliant accreditation of shareholders, for example via a registrar. To guarantee appropriate transmission reliability, necessary preparations for possible connection problems must be established. It is strongly recommended to use redundant connections to ensure the transmission to attendees remains intact even in the case of a malfunction.
Transfer internal content targeted and secured
If you want to address different audiences during the virtual Annual General Meeting – e.g., you want to make the Executive Board’s report available to the public, but want to keep the discussion with shareholders confidential – the format of the online Annual General Meeting offers various options for making this happen easily and securely.
Accreditation of participants via a registrar
When selecting a virtual platform for conducting a virtual shareholders’ meeting, it should be a priority to ensure only accredited shareholders have access to the content by cooperating with a corresponding registrar.
MediaEvent Services can provide integration with the leading registrars in German-speaking countries via the SlideSync webcast platform.
Video communication – submit questions via video
MediaEvent Services supports the implementation of video communication with shareholders both on-site and in terms of a platform with appropriate workflows and integrations that blend seamlessly into the existing framework.
Advantages of virtual Annual General Meetings
In addition to the challenges just mentioned, however, there are also many advantages that speak in favor of a virtual AGM. The format has gained popularity in recent years due to its convenience and the flexibility it offers.
Here are some of the pros of virtual general meetings:
Efficient use of time and resources
Time-consuming paper ballots including the lengthy counting process, as well as proxy voting, are no longer necessary. As a result, virtual AGMs can often be held with shorter event duration. Access to required documents and information is also simplified, as these are available via the corresponding portal.
In addition to the travel and accommodation costs for shareholders, holding a virtual AGM also eliminates the need to find and book an appropriately large event location.
Increasing number of participants
The ability to attend your AGM from any location can significantly increase attendance. Allow your shareholders and other viewers to follow important information and reports on the development of your company from almost anywhere – all they need is a device with Internet access.
Accessible and multilingual
By using live subtitling, live translation as well as interpreters or sign language interpreters, your virtual AGM can be made accessible and multilingual with little effort.
Digital events are a growing trend in the event industry for a good reason. The virtual AGM is no exception. The savings in energy, paper, and fuel help to reduce the CO₂ footprint of your AGM significantly.
Virtual AGM of the Lufthansa Group
Since 2011, we have been supporting the Lufthansa Group as a production team, along with our SlideSync platform, for the live stream of their Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting was held exclusively virtually from 2020 onwards due to the Corona pandemic. Based on our long expertise in the field of live-streaming online events, we were able to implement the first virtual Annual General Meeting of the Lufthansa Group within a concise time frame.
Check the recording of the Annual General Meeting 2022
With a virtual AGM, your company uses a modern and resource-efficient format for communicating with shareholders and other participants. With ever-changing technological developments and the need for resource-optimized event management, the virtual AGM is only likely to become more and more popular for companies and organizations.
With thoughtful planning and an understanding of the special requirements, it is possible to conduct very successful virtual general meetings. MediaEvent Services has been supporting its customers for many years in the realization of hybrid and virtual general meetings and offers individual and elaborate solutions for every challenge.
Are you interested in conducting your annual general meeting virtually with our support? Contact us and we’ll talk about your event!