Shifting from In-Person to Virtual Shareholder Meetings
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY
Research Seminars in Finance
Topic: How Shifting from In-Person to Virtual Shareholder Meetings Affects Shareholders’ Voice
Speaker: Miriam Schwartz-Ziv, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Abstract: Shareholder meetings are one of the only opportunities for most investors to interact directly with management. Due to Covid-19, however, shareholder meetings have moved to a virtual format. Analysis of transcripts and recordings of in-person and virtual shareholder meetings in 2019–2020 shows that, relative to in-person meetings, the overall time of virtual meetings is 18% shorter, and 29% less time is spent by firms on answering each question. These findings indicate that communication between companies and shareholders is more limited at virtual meetings. To examine if shareholders face challenges in their attempts to increase such communication in virtual meetings, I construct a dataset on shareholders’ attempts to submit questions to virtual shareholder meetings and document several tactics firms use to avoid addressing them. For example, firms explicitly state that no (additional) questions were submitted, whereas I document that multiple questions were submitted by shareholders, but were ignored. Finally, a mechanism that imposes severe restrictions on shareholders’ ability to submit questions at virtual shareholder meetings is uncovered: the use of a non-Broadridge platform to broadcast the meeting. Overall, the paper documents that with regard to 55% of the firms to which shareholders attempted to submit questions, shareholders faced obstacles. The paper concludes with policy recommendations on how virtual shareholder meetings can be designed in ways that foster communication between management and companies.
Moderator: Jing Xu, University of Technology Sydney
Date: Wednesday, 21st October 2020
Time: 4-5 pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)
Venue: This is on online Zoom webinar.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the meeting, including an access link.
- The webinar will run for 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q&A session.
- There will be a moderator for each seminar event, who will facilitate communication and resolve any technical issues.
- Participants can use the chat facility or raise their had to ask questions during the presentation. The moderator will then alert the speaker at the appropriate time and either ask the questions raised or unmute the participant so they can ask the question directly to the presenter.
Co-ordinator: Harry Scheule
Enquiries: Duncan Ford