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


April 16, 2010


Dear Forum Participant,


Thanks to all of you who offered questions and comments to let us know what to start developing.


Participant Questions


A few of the questions can be addressed this week:




I asked Avital Hahn to assume responsibility for this weekly Review based on my familiarity with her work as senior editor of The Economist Group’s CFO Magazine and as assistant managing editor of Thomson’s Investment Dealers’ Digest (“IDD”). In those positions she’s been covering Forum programs for over a decade, and was in fact one of the first journalists to define the “dot-com” problems we addressed in 2000. Ms. Hahn is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, and has been a fellow of journalism programs at Columbia as well as Harvard.

Considering the Review’s purposes – delivering information to decision-makers and, in support of that, providing a subject-focused reference resource for journalists and other researchers – I’ve also asked two members of the Forum’s Policy Review Board with relevant professional insights to help guide our progress: Francesco Guerrera, the U.S. Finance and Business Editor of Financial Times, and Dean Starkman, head of “The Audit” business reporting section for Columbia Journalism Review.

   - Gary Lutin, Forum chairman

1. Will Forum participants who aren't stockholders be able to observe a meeting being considered as an example?  That will be up to each company, just as each company decides whether non-stockholders can attend their traditional physical meetings. It's most likely that some of the companies we're observing will welcome Forum observation, and we will in any event let you know which ones allow live or archived access.


2. What's the objective of electronic participation in a shareholder meeting?  The easy answer is, it varies.  There are probably as many answers to this as there are companies. But the essential effect of electronic communication is to lower your costs, so you have a choice of delivering more or just saving money on the same old stuff - or, any combination. And, yes, of course, we'll be reporting a lot more on this.


3. Who is this?  Some of you asked who I am, and how did I end up being responsible for this weekly Review. While Mr. Lutin offers his response in a sidebar, I’ll tell you that my own understanding of why I’m doing this is because all of the details involved, such as attendance validation and vote processing, are just as strange to me as they will be to the typical board member or portfolio manager who has to make decisions about how to “go electronic.” I’ve been covering issues relating to annual meetings for senior corporate and investor decision-makers for over a decade, and this is the first time I’ve had to think about whether you can get a control number to validate a shareholder’s status before he or she asks a question. Let’s assume this means I’ll understand what needs to be learned, and that you can count on me to keep at it until I can report what you need to know for your decisions.


News Digest


We hope most of you saw the report distributed to Forum participants earlier this week (now posted on the Forum web site) about the plans of American Water (NYSE: AWK; $3.7 billion market cap) to conduct its meeting next month with electronic participation. Since the company has won considerable respect for its effective reporting and investor communications, they should provide us with an especially useful example of what a relatively small non-tech company can do with modern processes.


Meeting Observations


We now have a list of over a dozen companies that will be conducting 2010 meetings with electronic participation, either entirely or in combination with physical meetings. Please keep the suggestions coming, as well as your thoughts on priorities for observation so that we can decide which of these meetings may justify the most attention.


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.