The idea of AGMs only being attended by an older generation, hosted in stuffy rooms, is a dying myth. AGMs are no longer frequented by a certain demographic, interested in joining the meeting for a prawn sandwich.
With half of all shareholders in the UK and US now aged between 18 and 40, and 18% between 18 and 24 (Gen Z), member engagement has transformed. So, how do businesses engage with this new demographic?
Understanding why investors go to AGMs
Firstly, businesses need to understand why shareholders are attending AGMs. Our research revealed that the most common reason to attend an AGM was to ask questions of the board about how the company is run (43%), followed by shareholders making their voices heard on issues they are passionate about (42%). Only 29% want to influence dividends, the fourth most common response on the list, showing financial gain is less important than influencing governance.
Shareholders 55+ are also the least likely of any age group to want to influence dividends, shattering the idea that only younger generations care about having their voices heard on social impact.
Today, the majority of investors are buying shares in companies they are passionate about and attending AGMs because they want to make a difference or have their say.
The importance of providing shareholders with a voice
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to organise engaging AGMs that provide all shareholders with a voice.
Q&A sessions are a critical part of AGMs, not only to add structure to the meeting but to enable healthy debate on topics such as ESG or diversity. Hybrid meetings
are key to supporting this, to ensure a broad representation of the shareholder base can attend and participate in the meeting.
Facilitating AGMs through an online meeting platform also provides investors the flexibility to join remotely, rather than being constricted by geographical or time constraints of in-person events. Online meetings allow shareholders to not only participate virtually, but also cast their votes via an online voting platform.