There has been a major rise in New York events that are conducted virtually. Some meetings had legal requirements to be conducted in person up until the last few years. Some state governments are now changing the laws and making it possible to hold key meetings virtually, such as shareholder meetings.
The rise of virtual meetings
In New York and many other states, annual shareholder meetings must be conducted in person by law. This historically has had the effect of making the meetings into big conventions that made headlines, with the most famous perhaps being the Berkshire-Hathaway meetings. In 2020, Governor Cuomo began implementing measures to help the state adapt to virtual events. Some of these measures included temporarily adjusting the rules that require these meetings to be in person. Later, Governor Hochul made the rules permanent, allowing all corporations and nonprofit organizations to hold these meetings virtually unless they have a specific rule superseding those laws in their corporate charter.
Navigating a new corporate landscape
This has a major impact on corporate scheduling, events, announcements and communications. Legally, the reporting and other responsibilities to shareholders still have to be carried out, and navigating how to accomplish all of this can be challenging. Companies need to abide by all laws and keep abreast of laws that are changing.
The new environment and its new rules are designed to help support corporate leadership and communications. Although virtual shareholder meetings have a lot of advantages, they still require careful planning and adaptation to make sure that they fulfill existing legal requirements and corporate goals at the same time.