- Every year, companies hold a meeting for their shareholders.
- Investors get to ask questions and vote on things like board members.
Most companies hold an annual shareholders meeting. If you’re a shareholder, you can attend and actually see the CEO in person!
The meeting is usually a couple of hours long in a big auditorium, and the CEO and other company officials usually kick things off with a short speech. Shareholders vote on questions called proxy questions, such as who should be on the board of directors. The company comes up with some of the proxy questions, but shareholders can submit them too, in advance of the meeting. Your brokerage can provide you the proxy questions that will be voted on, and you can vote online if you can’t make it to the meeting. Finally, there are questions from the audience. You can step right up to the mic and ask the CEO a question!
Shareholders meetings can be fun to attend. At the 2016 Alphabet meeting, they gave away free Google hats to shareholders. Dole Foods gives away free fruit, and Hershey’s has a chocolate feast at its meeting.
But the granddaddy of them all is Berkshire Hathaway. 40,000 people attended the 2015 meeting at Berkshire headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Unlike most companies, you don’t have to be a shareholder to get into the Berkshire Hathaway meeting. You just need a guest pass, which you can get from a shareholder or even buy on eBay.