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.”
Additional advantages of hybrid and virtual meetings include:
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 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.
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.
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