The Shareholder ForumTM

Electronic Participation in Shareholder Meetings

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"E-Meetings" Home Page

"E-Meetings" Program Reference


E-Meetings Review

a project of

The Shareholder Forum

in support of its program for

Electronic Participation in Shareholder Meetings


Participant Questions

News Digest

Meeting Observations

Focus Report


May 21, 2010


Participant Questions and Comments


An investor’s need to question and to observe:
Several discussions this week have focused on the importance of shareholders’ ability to not only ask their own questions, but also to observe other investors’ questions and management’s responses to them. The value of open Q-and-A is evident not only in peaceful meetings such as Intel’s, but also in contentious ones. As we recently reported, Intel’s process of publicly posting questions and answers generated increased investor interest. And in the news section below, we further address the subject with several examples of controversial meetings, some of which were webcast.


Forum purpose to identify what should be considered:

Questions have been raised about the level of “standards” the Forum should be trying to define. According the Forum’s chairman, Gary Lutin, the stated purpose of the E-Meetings program was strictly limited to identifying the conditions of fair conduct that most marketplace participants consider relevant, and not trying to decide how a company should satisfy those conditions. It will then be up to each company's management to develop solutions to suit their own particular circumstances and investor interests.


News Digest


News reports of four “traditional” annual meetings – for Massey Energy Company (NYSE: MEE; $3 billion), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM; $151 billion), State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT; $20 billion), and WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP; $22 billion) – were presented in a Forum Report as examples of a range of notable shareholder confrontations at in-person meetings, focusing on investors’ ability in those conventional meetings to observe both what was presented and how management responded.


Meeting Observations


Intel’s May 19 meeting, which was the subject of last week’s Focus Report, generated two reactions worth noting. One was from an in-person attendee who identified himself during the question period as an individual shareholder of twenty years. Apparently unaware of the company’s web site posting of its extensive “Investor Day” business review, he expressed disappointment that the traditional business summary had been dropped from the meeting agenda. Another was from a shareholder voting rights advocate who had observed the webcast and posted a blog generally praising the meeting’s conduct but raising concerns about possible limitations of electronic participation. A replay of the meeting's video webcast is now available.


NVIDIA reported that its Wednesday meeting, also noted last week, generated roughly 50% higher attendance online than what they'd seen last year in a traditional in-person meeting. You can observe an archived version of their audio and slide webcast.






When Basics Suffice:
No Bells, Whistles or Questions at Warner Music’s Meeting


For the archived webcast of Warner Music's "pure virtual" annual meeting, click here.

It is no secret that companies with small retail ownership and low annual meeting attendance find value in running an annual meeting that is low-cost and efficient. Now, as virtual annual meetings become more prevalent, some companies like Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG, $900 million), are finding that a basic, no-frills virtual shareholder meeting can offer just that.

Warner Music Group, which went public in 2005 in a $554 million IPO, is headed by the perennially charitable Edgar Bronfman, Jr., and its ownership consists of more than 95% institutions and management. The company held a basic audio-only webcast in February that lasted a total of about eight minutes and fetched not one shareholder question. Still, the meeting demonstrates how a bare-bones electronic participation platform can be an effective way to lower costs while protecting shareholders’ right to participate.

The meeting satisfied basic requirements with its audio webcast and provisions allowing shareholders to cast votes as well as to ask questions live online during the meeting.

After announcements and readings of the formal statements, participants were informed that the company’s CFO and two auditors were ready to answer shareholder questions. But after a brief pause to check for questions, it turned out that none were asked. A disappointed but optimistic-sounding Bronfman reported, “it appears we did not receive any questions from stockholders.” Not one to dwell on the absence of questions, Bronfman concluded the meeting with a nod to the future. “We look to the potential this format offers to increase stockholder participation.”




Avital Louria Hahn

E-Meetings Review, a Shareholder Forum project




© 2010 The Shareholder Forum




This Forum program is open, free of charge, to anyone concerned with investor interests in the development of standards for conducting shareholder meetings with electronic participation. As stated in the posted Conditions of Participation, the Forum's purpose is to provide decision-makers with access to information and a free exchange of views on the issues presented in the program's Forum Summary. Each participant is expected to make independent use of information obtained through the Forum, subject to the privacy rights of other participants.  It is a Forum rule that participants will not be identified or quoted without their explicit permission.

The organization of this Forum program was encouraged by Walden Asset Management, and is proceeding with the invited leadership support of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and Intel Corporation to address issues relevant to broad public interests in marketplace practices, rather than investor decisions relating to only a single company. The Forum may therefore invite program support of several companies that can provide both expertise and examples of leadership relating to the issues being addressed.

Inquiries about this Forum program and requests to be included in its distribution list may be addressed to

The information provided to Forum participants is intended for their private reference, and permission has not been granted for the republishing of any copyrighted material. The material presented on this web site is the responsibility of Gary Lutin, as chairman of the Shareholder Forum.

Shareholder Forum™ is a trademark owned by The Shareholder Forum, Inc., for the programs conducted since 1999 to support investor access to decision-making information. It should be noted that we have no responsibility for the services that Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., introduced for review in the Forum's 2010 "E-Meetings" program and has since been offering with the “Shareholder Forum” name, and we have asked Broadridge to use a different name that does not suggest our support or endorsement.