As a shareholder in companies, investors such as Mercy Investment Services have the right to attend company annual meetings to present resolutions, ask questions and interact with company leadership. Over the last few years some companies have begun to move their meetings to virtual formats. With the COVID-19 pandemic most companies had to adopt this format and host a virtual meeting. Some companies have already announced their 2021 meetings will be virtual, and shareholders are proactively trying to provide insight and guidance to companies for holding these online formats.
Mercy Investment Services joined fellow investors, service companies and corporations in a working group that recently released practical guidance for companies holding virtual annual meetings. The report focused on transparent disclosure on how shareholders can attend, advance preparation to ensure shareholder participation, platforms available with technical assistance and post-meeting follow up. The group hopes that these recommendations will guide companies during the current shareholder advocacy season and maintain the access shareholders have been granted to company meetings for decades.