Planning and conducting an annual meeting is one of the most important events a company will do each year. After an annual meeting, a company may breathe a sigh of relief that the event is over – but there are still important tasks to be done.
Very likely you have several stakeholders within your organization who are involved in the planning and execution of the AGM. It is important to keep them engaged after the meeting as well. This is where you’ll gain valuable insight into best practices or what could be done better next year. Additionally, the outcome of the AGM may include specific deliverables your company needs to follow through. Here is a checklist of things to consider.
1. Inform your transfer agent of any approved increase in authorized shares for equity plans. If shareholders approve a new equity plan or increase authorized shares for an existing plan, make sure to let your transfer agent know so it can update its records accordingly.
2. Inform your stock plan administrator. If any agenda items affect the company’s equity plans, such as amendments to stock option plans, make sure to inform your stock plan administrator so it can make any necessary updates.
3. Compile all your invoices. Go through all invoices related to the AGM to determine the cost and set a baseline for next year. This will help you plan and budget for the next meeting, as well as make sure you’re getting the value expected for any add-on services such as proxy solicitors and additional mailings to shareholders.
4. Post a copy of the script or a recording of the meeting to your corporate website. Shareholders who couldn’t attend the meeting may appreciate the opportunity to catch up on what was discussed. Posting a copy of the script or a recording of the meeting to your corporate website can help improve transparency and communication with shareholders.
5. Request input from key stakeholders. Ask the board of directors and executive team for feedback on the meeting. What did they like? What could be improved? This can help you identify areas for improvement and make the next annual meeting even better.
6. Create an internal working list of what did or didn’t work. Often following a meeting, it is easy to move directly onto other pressing matters but there is value in setting aside a few minutes to make notes of observations while they are still top of mind. This can include all aspects, such as the success of the meeting venue or virtual meeting, vendor support and relevant shareholder questions or comments. Gather your team together for a quick debrief call and capture all the notes so you can review them prior to planning the next meeting.
7. Gather intelligence on how annual meetings were conducted by companies inside and outside of your industry. Much can be learned about how to effectively handle everything, from shareholder/activist questions and assisting individuals with disabilities who wish to attend the meeting in person or virtually to effective use of technology and messaging in communications that convey a personal touch.
8. Save, save, save all your documentation. This seems like a basic concept but, if there are new people on your team next year, they will need to know how or why something was done, who the internal and external stakeholders are and what the key deliverables and timelines are.
By following this checklist, a company can ensure it has taken care of important tasks following the annual meeting and set itself up for success in the future.
Becky Paulson is president and Chris Ward is vice president of corporate development at Odyssey Transfer US