Corporate Eye

What Makes for Effective Investor Relations Sites? Part 31: Annual General Meetings

Companies are of two minds about Annual General Meetings of Shareholders; some view them as a necessary evil to be dispensed with as quickly and with as little fanfare as possible; others see it as an opportunity to reach out to their owners and present the Board and management in the best possible light while giving the shareholders a good overview of the company and its goals. If your company is in the first camp, you can stop reading now, because unless you have a compelling Annual General Meeting, simply placing it on your investor web site won’t gain you much.

MSFT Annual Meeting

On the other hand, if your Annual Meeting has a high information quotient, it makes sense to place a video of it on your web site where investors that were unable to attend can view the information presented. Any number of companies now place videos of their entire meeting on their web sites. Microsoft, the computer software company, is one that does just that.

While you can put the entire meeting up on the web site, you don’t really need to.

BASF annual mtg

Annual Meetings break down into three basic segments: the business meeting (the boring stuff), management’s presentation (the interesting stuff) and shareholder questions and answers (the stuff that can be anything, from the banal to the insightful).

Obviously, what investors want to see is the interesting stuff, where management reviews the past year and discusses their outlook for the upcoming year. BASF, the German chemical company, handles the differing parts of the annual meeting in an interesting way. As can be seen in the screen shot, the business part of their meeting is presented in written documents, while their CEO’s speech and accompanying slides are available in video format. (In the case of BASF, I could find no record of any shareholder questions at the meeting.)

However you choose to divide up and present the annual meeting, you should consider placing a video of it in the investor section of your web site. Chances are it contains information investors will find valuable.

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John Palizza

John recently retired as a Lecturer in Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Management, where he taught investor relations. Prior to that, John was in charge of investor relations for Sysco Corporation and Walgreen Co. He holds a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago. You can learn more about John’s thinking about investor relations at his blog, Investor Relations Musings.