Online annual meetings closer as bill progresses
Hopes are high that companies could begin holding annual general meetings online this year.
The Regulatory Reform Bill, which needs to be passed before AGMs can legally be held online, was introduced into Parliament in 2010 and is now understood to be close to receiving its third reading.
Computershare New Zealand, which provides registry services to more than half of NZX-listed firms, could provide virtual AGMs as a service to its clients using technology developed by Auckland firm Futuretech Labs, according to Computershare managing director James Marshall.
FutureTech has developed software that can be used to hold interactive meetings over the internet and let shareholders vote electronically on resolutions. Its founder, Craig Meek, said a version for iPads should be ready in about a month and he hoped the first virtual AGMs could take place this year.
Annual meetings were first held live online in the United States in 2009. There, the change has been credited with trebling the number of shareholders voting on company resolutions. Intel opted to hold an online-only annual meeting that year, but backtracked after a shareholder revolt and allowed shareholders to also attend and vote.Fairfax NZ
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