The Shareholder ForumTM

Electronic Participation in Shareholder Meetings

Forum Home Page [see Broadridge note below]

"E-Meetings" Home Page

"E-Meetings" Program Reference


Forum Report: Electronic Participation in Shareholder Meetings


Inviting Comments on Practices for Reporting Shareholder Questions

Responding to the interest of many Forum participants in means of assuring fair reporting of questions and comments submitted by shareholders, as expressed during last week’s open Forum meeting and in the “Focus Report” of Friday’s E-Meetings Review, two examples of possible practices have been suggested for your consideration and comment.

It should be emphasized that these examples are being presented for each Forum participant’s independent judgment of fairness, in an exchange of views that should serve as a practical test of the standards that we are in the process of defining.[1] It is not the Forum’s intention to seek endorsement of these examples as “best practices.” Our objective is instead to support investor interests in broad marketplace testing of what actually works, with each company developing its own practices in competition for investor support.[2]

Both of the following examples should be considered for possible use in any kind of information exchange process, including a shareholder meeting but possibly also a pre-meeting webcast like those conducted for quarterly earnings reports. In this context, references to a “meeting” in these summaries are meant to include the full range of processes in which people convene to communicate.

Example A:

Presenting all questions for selection by polling during a break

To respect the rights of all meeting participants to present their own views and hear others without distractions, Tracey Rembert of Pax World Management has suggested accumulating all question submissions for reporting and polling during a meeting break. In this suggested practice, every meeting participant’s question, whether from someone participating in-person or by webcast, could be seen and considered by all participants, and the electronic polling would allow all participants to contribute to the prioritizing of the questions for management response.[3]

Example B:

Reporting all post-meeting submissions of unresolved issues

Addressing widespread interest in unfiltered observation of all questions and comments offered by shareholders, a suggestion was developed in discussions among several Forum participants to invite all meeting participants to make post-meeting submissions of any unanswered questions for public presentation. This, like the example above, would avoid distraction during the meeting, and would allow open reporting of submissions without subjecting the company to burdens of publishing responsibilities.

These examples have been presented without important details, such as how polling results would be considered or whether anonymous submissions would be allowed, assuming that a wide range of variations should be considered both in your review and in any real application.

Following past Forum practices, your comments will be welcomed for reporting to Forum participants either with or without identification of the source, or simply for private discussion.

GL – July 22, 2010


Gary Lutin

Chairman, The Shareholder Forum

c/o Lutin & Company

575 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor

New York, New York 10022

Tel: 212-605-0335



[1] See the section titled “Consensus on standards to be judged by investors” in the July 16, 2010 Forum Report of the July 13, 2010 open meeting.

[2] This encouragement of company-specific responses to investor interests is also supported by advocates of corporate management interests, as stated in the Business Roundtable’s "2010 Principles of Corporate Governance” section on relationships with investors.

[3] It should be noted that the technology for live polling of both in-person and online participants is readily available, as demonstrated at the Forum’s open meeting, but that its common applications involve one vote per participant rather than weightings for numbers of shares represented by each participant.




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.