With U.S. corporations and investors preparing for the start of the annual shareholder meeting season, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR), a global Fintech leader, in conjunction with Q4 Inc. (Q4), a leading capital markets, investor relations and virtual events solution provider, announce a strategic partnership to deliver the next generation of the Broadridge Virtual Shareholder Meeting (VSM). Combining the technology and expertise of Broadridge’s decade-plus leadership in VSMs with Q4’s latest virtual events capabilities, provides issuers and investors with a stress-free, intuitive and enriched experience.
“VSMs are a critical tool, revolutionizing how companies conduct their annual meetings and speak to shareholders, and Broadridge and Q4 are re-defining and enhancing the VSM experience. This enhanced VSM will drive increased shareholder engagement by providing an experience that has many advantages over a physical meeting,” said Cathy Conlon, Vice President, Broadridge Corporate Issuer Product Strategy & Business Development. “Companies will experience the latest virtual events technology platform, which will benefit their management team holding the event and the shareholders who attend.”
New features of this fully integrated VSM offering include state-of-the-art video and audio collaboration, role-based meeting views, comprehensive meeting management tools and improved Q&A functionality. The platform is aligned with VSM best practices recently outlined by Rutgers University Law School. It provides “one-click” secure shareholder authentication and seamless proxy voting accessed directly from the VSM meeting.
Broadridge pioneered the first commercial VSM platform in 2009 and is the leading provider of VSMs to public companies in North America. In 2020, Broadridge hosted nearly 2,000 VSMs for public company annual meetings and led the industry in how to conduct virtual meetings. This strategic partnership between Broadridge and Q4 builds on the collaborative launch of the Digital Proxy with the goal of increasing retail shareholder participation in corporate governance.
Benefits for Shareholders and Companies
For shareholders, the platform allows for a highly engaging and modern virtual experience, starting with a seamless meeting authentication, a “Zoom-like” meeting experience, integrated Q&A, live voting, speaker profiles and easily accessible meeting materials.
For issuers, the platform provides an integrated console to manage all aspects of the VSM experience, including seamless management of high-quality video and audio streamed from multiple presenters, screen sharing, meeting materials management and voting. Innovative Q&A management has been designed for administrators to review shareholder questions and queue for presenters, while corporate executives and board members benefit from integrated private chat tools for unparalleled collaboration and communication throughout the meeting.
“We are incredibly excited about our strategic partnership with Broadridge and to bring this next generation VSM platform to the market,” said Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4. “Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been working closely with the experts at Broadridge at extending our new virtual events platform to serve the needs of shareholders and issuers in this new virtual world. We are proud to deliver this platform and set the standard by which all VSMs will be measured against as we lead the market to how much more effective VSMs can be.”
Broadridge and Q4 provide this VSM platform with a dedicated team of capital markets events experts for guided, premium support throughout meeting planning, dry runs, live broadcast and meeting choreography to deliver a flawless experience for companies to help meet meeting requirements.
VSMs generate significantly lower carbon emissions than in-person meetings and create an opportunity for companies to reduce their overall carbon footprint. Broadridge data shows that, compared with in-person events, VSMs can help companies virtually eliminate their AGM-related carbon footprint.
In 2020, Q4 hosted more than 4,000 capital markets virtual events, including earnings events, investor days and investor conferences. Moving forward, Broadridge and Q4 plan to partner on extending Q4’s suite of impactful virtual events solutions to issuers, asset managers and other capital markets participants.
These enhancements are currently only available in the U.S. and will be rolled out to markets outside the U.S. in the future.