June 28, 2018

Virtual Annual Meetings: 27% Annual Growth Rate

This review from ISS Analytics shows that there were 127 virtual-only meetings through mid-May, compared to just 99 last year. And for the full year, at least 300 companies are expected to hold some sort of virtual annual meeting (including hybrid) – compared to 236 in 2017 (this doesn’t include companies that webcast meetings on their own). A recent Broadridge summary also notes:

– 10% of virtual meetings were hybrid

– Of the 24 companies that held a hybrid meeting in 2016, 12 of them switched to virtual-only in 2017

– 97% of virtual-only meetings were conducted with live audio, rather than video

– 57% of the companies holding virtual meetings were small-cap, 26% were mid-cap & 17% were large-cap

– 98% of companies allow questions to be submitted online during the live meeting

P&G’s Close Contest: Registered & Plan Shares to Blame for Uncertainty?

Broadridge recently reported this finding from the voting review of Proctor & Gamble’s short-slate proxy contest – where the voting margin ended up being less than 1% of votes cast:

The uncertainty in the validity of the votes occurred entirely within the registered shares and plan shares, while the votes of all of the street name shares were accepted as accurate and not contested.

Proxy Cards & VIFs Will Be More Identical

According to this newsletter, Broadridge is redesigning its “Voting Instruction Form” to make more space for full proxy card language. Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter:

Mr. Norman referred to previous discussions held with the SEC staff on the nature and use of abbreviations when faced with proxy language that is too voluminous to fit within the standard voter instruction form (VIF). He stated that in his recent discussions with the staff, the staff had expressed the view that the VIF should be revised so that it could allow the same language that appears on the proxy card, rendering the need for abbreviations obsolete.

Members of Broadridge management stated in response they were working on a redesign of an expanded VIF designed to permit full use of proxy card language on the VIF. A prototype of the proposed VIF has been drafted and is being submitted for quality assurance testing, with the goal that the new VIF form will be ready for use in September, the beginning of the 2018 fall “mini” proxy season.

Liz Dunshee