Australia’s listed companies can now run virtual-only AGM’s thanks to a change in the rules governing the meetings.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced yesterday that company Annual General Meetings have been formally approved to be conducted as virtual, online events as a result of the COVID-19 disruption.

The rule will apply for six months from May 6, 2020. 

However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has insisted that even with the change, online AGMs “must continue to provide shareholders with a reasonable opportunity to participate”.

That has created a new opportunity for businesses like Sydney based Boardroom.Media. Its Boardroom.Connect service allows companies to transfer the look and feel of a physical, traditional event onto a clean, digital platform, said CEO Will Canty.

Will Canty, CEO Boardroom.Media

“We have been providing value and quality to listed companies for 15 years, through tens of thousands of live stream events, town halls, broadcasts, and interactive experiences.”

He said the Boardroom.Connect platform has been built to provide the best technology along with excellent value to service the rapidly changing needs of the investor community. 

“As the global pandemic rejects the systems and structures of the ‘old world’, we are here to assist in the transition and transformation to the new world, and our collective post-COVID-19 future,” he said.

According to Canty, “In 2013 we produced and delivered the first local virtual AGM, for Omni Market Tide (OMT) – and this included live streaming and live voting on a mobile app for the first time in Australia.”

Speakers and presenters can appear in a live or pre-recorded video or audio stream and the interface allows for all questions and commentary to be managed and facilitated.

The service provides high-quality capture and streaming, file sharing, and text chat features, a ‘Room’ feature for private and breakout meetings, as well as Q&A “raise your hand” functionality, according to the company.

Opportunity

The shift from physical to virtual events has proven to be a boon for businesses like Boardroom.Media as social distancing rules and restrictions on travel and large gatherings have forced the investor relations professionals to examine new options for keeping markets informed.

Canty said that these new digital services are bringing traditional IR into the 21st Century.  

Ian Matheson, CEO of The Australasian Investor Relations Association echoed those sentiments, saying, “These changes, while temporary, bring the Corporations Act into the digital age and in line with industry expectations.”

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