Tips for running hybrid AGM webcasts in Singapore

Tips for running hybrid AGM webcasts in Singapore Banner

Tips for running hybrid AGM webcasts in Singapore

The arrival of COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital technologies for the seamless execution of general meetings in Singapore. Supported by legislative changes, the pandemic ushered in an era where virtual platforms became the backbone of these meetings, revolutionising the way businesses and organisations convened and interacted.

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings) Orders allowing businesses to hold virtual general meetings in Singapore ceased from 1 July 2023. However, in recognition of the many benefits afforded by virtual and hybrid meeting technologies, Singapore introduced a new Bill on 9 May 2023, allowing businesses to continue holding their general meetings electronically if desired. However, for public companies listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX), general meetings would have to be held either in physical or hybrid format.

With legislation supporting businesses to provide stakeholders the option to attend meetings virtually or in person, it appears that hybrid meetings are set to be an ongoing Annual General Meetings (AGMs) trend.

Charlyne Pak, Manager Share Registry Services for BoardRoom Singapore, explores the reasons behind the surge in hybrid AGMs and offers expert tips to help you run hybrid meetings successfully.

The benefits of hybrid AGMs

Hybrid AGMs are becoming commonplace in Singapore and around the world due to the raft of benefits they can provide to businesses and shareholders alike.

The benefits of hybrid AGMs

Three key advantages of hybrid AGMs are:

Greater engagement
Positive ESG factors
Cost and time savings

Greater engagement

By allowing attendees to join from anywhere in the world, hybrid AGMs, or any type of general meeting, can help to improve accessibility and stakeholder engagement.

“One of the main reasons companies adopt hybrid meetings is because they want more interaction with shareholders who want to attend in person while at the same time giving shareholders the flexibility to choose which mode they want to participate in,” Charlyne explains. “Hybrid formats allow for a wider reach of stakeholders, as attendance is not limited by location.”

The convenience of hybrid meetings also means that shareholders are less likely to skip them due to conflicting schedules.

“Shareholders who hold stakes in multiple companies can now attend multiple AGMs in one day, as there’s little to no travelling time in between,” says Charlyne.

Positive ESG factors

By leveraging technology to bridge distances, businesses can enhance their response to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in several ways.

“Hybrid AGMs can help reduce the environmental impact of meetings because attendees who would normally travel can instead participate remotely,” she says.

A reduced need for travel leads to less carbon emissions, thus promoting sustainable business practices.

Hybrid AGMs can also help foster good corporate governance, with higher attendance levels across stakeholder groups helping to promote transparency, accountability and relationship building – three critical components of responsible business management.

Cost and time savings

Hybrid meetings can provide businesses with valuable time and cost savings, which can then be redirected into progressing primary business goals. A reduced number of in-person attendees can help businesses to save on costs by downsizing their catering and event space.

By leveraging digital technology, hybrid meetings are also likely to proceed more efficiently than fully physical meetings; since COVID-19, average meeting times in Singapore have seen a remarkable 62.5% drop.

How to prepare for a hybrid AGM in Singapore

Businesses can help ensure a successful hybrid AGM by taking the following steps in the preparation stage.

Start preparing early
Commence preparations at least three months in advance to block out attendees’ calendars, allow time for testing and avoid costly last-minute changes or rescheduling.
Review local regulations and standards
Singapore regulations are continually updated to enhance the AGM experience for all businesses and their shareholders. To ensure compliance, familiarise yourself with the latest regulatory requirements and service standards. A trusted corporate secretarial services provider and share registrar can ensure your company remains compliant.
Arrange for site visit and equipment testing
For a seamless experience, select a venue that easily accommodates in-person and virtual attendees, and invest in high-quality audiovisual equipment. Test all equipment beforehand to minimise the risk of technical glitches.
Test internet connectivity
Test your network to ensure it is stable and secure and prepare a backup network in case of connectivity issues on the day.
Work with a reliable meeting solutions provider
BoardRoom, partnering with Lumi Global, provides a meetings solution that is secure, user-friendly, and also able to meet the regulatory requirements for live voting and Q&A (a vital diversity and inclusion factor). Familiarise yourself with the platform and arrange on-the-day technical support to ensure quick, professional handling of any unexpected issues.
Hold a dress rehearsal early
Unexpected technical issues can cost money and time and harm your reputation. Dress rehearsals allow time for your board, chairman and relevant stakeholders to familiarise themselves with meeting procedures and provide the opportunity to iron out potential issues and create a contingency plan.
Provide clear instructions to attendees
Provide clear meeting instructions to all attendees, detailing the process for joining the hybrid meeting, accessing relevant documents and participating in Q&As and polls.

As a matter of best practice, a reputable meeting services provider will adopt these steps during the preparation stages of an AGM, seamlessly reducing the burden on companies. By leveraging their expertise, they will ensure a streamlined hassle-free experience.

Tips for conducting a successful hybrid AGM

When it comes to ensuring the smooth and effective running of a hybrid AGM webcast in Singapore, Charlyne has the following three straightforward tips for business leaders:

  • designate a moderator;
  • request attendees turn phones off or on silent; and
  • foster engagement with both virtual and in-person attendees.

“Firstly, as there are two different channels for receiving questions – in person and via the real-time messaging platform – always designate a moderator from your company,” she says.

A sharp moderator can help guide the flow of discussion and manage questions raised during Q&A, encouraging valuable engagement across stakeholder groups, and also helps the Chairman to control the meeting time.

“Secondly, request all attendees to turn off their mobile devices or switch them to silent mode,” Charlyne continues. This will minimise distractions and interruptions during the meeting and help attendees stay focused on matters at hand.

“Thirdly, it is important to foster a sense of fairness among in-person and virtual attendees,” Charlyne says. “This involves making sure all attendees are equally engaged throughout the meeting instead of defaulting to those present in the room.”

Business leaders can foster engagement and satisfaction among all shareholders by:

  • dedicating equal airtime to in-person and remote attendees during the live Q&A; and
  • providing remote attendees with tokens of equal value to any perks provided to physical attendees (such as refreshments or vouchers).

What to do after your hybrid AGM

The period following an AGM presents a golden opportunity to evaluate the event’s success and make improvements to your conduct of hybrid general meetings.

After your AGM, it is time to:

  • Analyse attendee feedback – Gathering feedback from all attendees will assist in refining future meetings. Consider including a QR code at the end of the final presentation directing shareholders to a feedback form.
  • Evaluate the success of the hybrid format – Assess the effectiveness of the hybrid format in achieving your desired outcomes (such as increased engagement and inclusivity) and compare attendance rates with other formats to gauge overall success.
  • Start planning for future AGMs – Use the insights gained from the evaluation process to refine and enhance future AGMs. Opportunities for improvement may lie in adopting new technologies, enhancing your engagement strategies and addressing any shortcomings identified.
What to do after your hybrid AGM

Engage a reputable meeting services provider for the best results

From 1 October 2022, in order for shareholders to make decisions on an informed basis, all SGX-listed companies must include live polling and Q&A at their general meetings. A professional meeting services provider can support with these practices and all aspects of the meeting process from start to finish to ensure a compliant and successful general meeting.

Top general meeting service providers in Singapore tend to have the following:

  • strong knowledge of local regulations and standards and the ability to help you achieve strict compliance;
  • a wealth of experience in running General Meetings in different formats and implementing contingency plans for dealing with unfortunate situations like power outages; and
  • an end-to-end service that includes a post-meeting debrief to explore what was done well and what can be done better next time.
Tailored support for hybrid meetings in Singapore

Tailored support for hybrid meetings in Singapore

Hybrid meetings have emerged as the future of general meetings, with many Singaporean businesses embracing digital technologies to deliver inclusive and productive meeting experiences for their shareholders.

BoardRoom has a long history of helping businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region make the most of their General Meetings. Today, we proudly conduct general meetings for almost 47% of companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange and have a strong reputation for delivering exceptional outcomes for clients.

As part of our comprehensive share registry service, we assist with all aspects of running physical, virtual and hybrid meetings in Singapore. Our experienced share registry team specialises in providing a professional, tailored meeting service that aligns with your unique business needs.

Contact us today to find out how we can assist with running your next AGM. To learn more about the future of annual general meetings in Singapore, download our AGM trend infographic so you will be equipped to make informed decisions for your next AGM

Contact BoardRoom for more information:

Charlyne Pak

Share Registry Services Manager, BoardRoom Singapore

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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The benefits of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

The benefits of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

The benefits of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

The global shift towards greater digitalisation has had significant impacts on the Singapore corporate sphere, with the COVID-19 pandemic serving to accelerate a sector-wide uptake of digital communication technologies to support business continuity.

While the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings) Orders allowing businesses to hold meetings electronically ended on 1 July 2023, a new Bill has already come into effect, giving businesses (non-SGX listed) the option to continue conducting their meetings virtually if they wish – even if physical meetings are stipulated in their company constitution.

Now that businesses have experienced the advantages of electronic meetings first-hand, the shift towards virtual and hybrid formats is expected to be an enduring Annual General Meetings (AGMs) trend.

Ahead, Charlyne Pak, Manager Share Registry Services for BoardRoom Singapore, explains how both small and large businesses can benefit from holding hybrid and virtual meetings in Singapore. We will also explore key considerations for ensuring your meetings foster positive communication and meaningful connection between shareholders.

Key advantages of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

A major advantage of virtual meetings is that they can be logistically easier to arrange than on-site meetings. This is particularly the case when the board of directors are located overseas.

“On-site meetings may require transport, venue preparation, accommodation and catering, while virtual meetings allow participants to dial in from wherever they’re located,” Charlyne explains. “This makes running the meeting easier logistically and saves on costs.”

Benefits AGM meeting

Additional advantages of hybrid and virtual meetings include:

Increased flexibility and convenience
Participants can choose whether to attend physically or remotely, depending on their location and preferred mode of communication.
Enhanced diversity and inclusion (D&I)
Shareholders who are based overseas or have mobility or health issues (e.g. immunodeficiency) can easily attend remotely, which supports inclusivity and engagement levels.
Improved communication
Real-time messaging functions allow for better communication during Q&A sessions, as it removes the stress or pressure that can come with asking questions in-person.
Time savings
Digital capabilities such as pre-meeting registrations, integrated virtual voting and live Q&A help to streamline meeting management.
Corporate sustainability
The need for travel, paper and catering is minimised or removed, resulting in less wastage and a smaller carbon footprint.
Bolstered reputation
Leveraging new technologies symbolises your company’s eagerness to stay at the forefront of evolving business practices.

The benefits of virtual AGMs for smaller businesses

The time and cost savings of electronic AGMs make them a popular option for many smaller businesses, who usually have limited financial resources and therefore must prioritise the effective management of budgets.

“Virtual meetings can be more cost-effective as you don’t have travelling, accommodation or venue booking expenses,” says Charlyne.

The real-time engagement tools offered by digital technology have cut meeting times dramatically, with the average meeting now lasting 30 minutes, down from 80 minutes in 2019.

Digital technology can also assist small businesses in making new connections and fostering strong partnerships due to the improved networking and collaboration opportunities it can provide.

The benefits of virtual AGMs for smaller businesses

The benefits of hybrid AGMs for larger businesses

As COVID-19 restrictions eased, many businesses – particularly larger organisations with numerous shareholders – learned how to run a hybrid AGM so that overseas shareholders could still enjoy the convenience of attending remotely.

According to Charlyne, the flexibility of hybrid meetings can help boost participation numbers, leading to stronger engagement and communication among members of your organisation.

“With hybrid meetings, you can connect with a larger group of shareholders with no geographical limitations,” Charlyne says. “However, less tech-savvy shareholders can still choose to attend in person.”

Hybrid meetings also allow companies to streamline in-meeting communication through the use of digital tools.

“Participants can raise questions virtually via real-time messaging, where the moderator can categorise similar/repeated questions for the Chairman to reply. This helps in reducing the duration of the meeting,” Charlyne says.

What to consider when running a hybrid or virtual AGM in Singapore

Business leaders can maximise the benefits of hybrid and virtual meetings (AGM, EGM) by paying attention to the following factors.

Meeting format
Both virtual and hybrid settings for your AGM offer distinct unique benefits. Make your selection based on your business requirements and shareholder demographics.
Communication management
To comply with regulatory standards and support good communication, work with reliable meeting service providers. BoardRoom, partnering with Lumi Global, provides meeting solutions with features such as real-time voting, messaging, polling, and document repository which provides shareholders easy access to all documents. Make sure to designate a moderator to manage incoming virtual messages and questions.
Practise and preparation
Prior to the meeting, it is important to perform a dry run (dress rehearsal) and craft detailed chairman scripts. This will help ensure the seamless execution of your meeting and instil confidence amongst attendees, leading to enhanced meeting outcomes.
Good governance
A reputable meeting services provider can ensure good corporate governance by facilitating transparent and inclusive communication, promoting effective decision making and support in maintaining accurate records.
Risk mitigation
To reduce the risk of disruptions, work with your meeting services provider to put contingency plans in place in the event of technical failure. By partnering with Lumi Global, the world’s leading end-to-end hybrid and virtual meeting provider, BoardRoom is able to switch to a backup server almost instantly should there be a power failure during your meeting, thus maintaining seamless continuity.
Privacy and security
Ensure internal data privacy and security protocols are followed to protect sensitive information shared before, during and after the meeting.

Make the most of your meetings with BoardRoom

Amid digital transformation in Singapore and around the world, electronic meetings have emerged as powerful tools for businesses to adapt and thrive. Well-conducted hybrid and virtual AGMs provide a valuable opportunity to engage meaningfully with shareholders and gain a strong understanding of stakeholder expectations.

At BoardRoom, we are ready to handle all your meeting management, polling and live engagement needs as part of our premium share registry services.

With a commitment to delivering quality service, we strive to ensure the effective and compliant running of your general meetings in line with local regulations and the Singapore Standard for Vendors of Virtual/Hybrid General Meeting Systems.

Our dedication to positive client outcomes means we are now Singapore’s leading meeting services provider, with 47% of public-listed companies choosing BoardRoom to conduct their general meetings.

Contact us to discuss how our comprehensive share registry and meeting services can benefit your business.

Make the most of your meetings with BoardRoom

Contact BoardRoom for more information:

Charlyne Pak

Share Registry Services Manager, BoardRoom Singapore

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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The changing face of meetings and AGMs, from virtual to in-person. What to expect?

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The changing face of meetings and AGMs, from virtual to in-person. What to expect?

With recent changes in regulatory requirements and shareholder activism, we have observed significant differences in how companies conduct their meetings to ensure regulatory compliance and meet shareholders’ expectations. Adoption of technology such as AGM webcasts and ESG factors have also influenced the way companies conduct their meetings.

We have compiled valuable insights reflecting the dynamic shifts that have taken place in the world of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for the April-May meeting season in Singapore. Whether you’re an investor or a company executive, our infographic is your gateway to understanding the dynamics of virtual, physical and hybrid AGMs in Singapore.

Download our AGM Trends Infographic today so you will be equipped to make informed decisions for your next AGM.

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