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NEW YORK: Big U.S. corporations have identified a new strategy for managing irate investors at annual shareholder meetings: Going virtual. This year, about 250 companies are expected to convene their yearly investor tete-a-tete via audio or video, up from 155 in 2016 and just 26 in 2012, according to investors communications firm Broadridge.The set of companies forgoing the face-to-face encounters includes No. 2 U.S. automaker Ford and energy giants ConocoPhillips and Duke Energy.New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees investments under the city's $170 billion public pension system, has declared war on virtual meetings, sending a letter to almost 20 companies demanding they go the traditional way.The annual meeting has traditionally offered a unique forum to the individual investor who lacks the clout of large institutional investors.
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