Lumi Global is dedicated to giving retail shareholders a more powerful voice. The company develops and markets technologies that lets corporations broadcast their annual general meetings and other key presentations for remote viewing.
Attending AGMs has never been an issue for large and powerful shareholders. By contrast, retail shareholders are limited to attending AGM’s because of the expensive costs associated with travel and accommodations.
This is no longer the case as Lumi’s platform not only lets investors with at least one share watch a live webcast of the event, but ask questions via a verbal or text-based Q&A and cast votes on key issues.
Invezz had the opportunity to chat with Lumi’s Director of Shareholder Engagement Kerry Leighton-Bailey about how retail investors can be more active in the virtual world.
Broadcasting meetings since 2016
All investors, regardless of how many shares they own, are legally entitled to engage with the company at the annual general meeting.
Lumi has been broadcasting AGMs to shareholders since 2016 under the assumption that a shift towards virtual events was coming, Leighton-Bailey told Invezz. But the adoption of a virtual format faced some legal issues.
Specifically, a meeting has to be held “in a place” but “nobody was happy to agree that a place could be a virtual location,” she added. As one would expect, the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt a virtual model, nearly overnight.
In the 12 month period before the pandemic, Lumi helped facilitate nearly 70 virtual meetings. In 2020, this number soared to 3,500 while 2021 is already tracking above this figure. In fact, many companies that returned to in-person events in 2021 were eager to continue offering a simultaneous digital alternative.
Retail shareholders have a large voice
Lumi’s capabilities means that retail investors are no longer viewed as insignificant. The executive stated:
Whilst the retail shareholder might not hold a significant proportion of the [total] shares, the collective voice of the retail shareholder has never been louder than it is now.
The typical retail investor that engages with a company via a Lumi broadcasted meeting is more knowledgeable — and not “turning up for the free lunch,” she said. Moreover, the average retail shareholder is younger and wants to make sure they have confidence in management’s ability to generate a return.
Lumi has not seen a single instance of a company acting in a way that would limit the rights of individual shareholders to participate in a meeting.
Corporations are embracing the technology
Some corporations are motivated to hold their meetings in a “dark corner” to avoid shareholder engagement, but fortunately, these are in the minority.
Management teams have come to “recognize the benefits” of a virtual or hybrid meeting and have noticed there is no difference between the quality of interactions between retail shareholders and institutional powerhouses.
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