LONDON (1) - The usage of virtual annual meetings by corporations throughout the coronavirus epidemic should not turn out to be the norm as soon as restrictions on folks’s actions are lifted, accountable funding marketing campaign group ShareAction stated on Thursday.
Such a transfer may forestall buyers from attending and holding corporations to account ShareAction stated in a letter to the pinnacle of Britain’s enterprise ministry seen by 1.
“A major proportion of retail shareholders are older individuals who have a tendency to be much less comfy with utilizing the form of know-how required to host a digital AGM,” Coverage Supervisor Rachel Haworth stated within the letter to Alok Sharma.
“As well as, bodily AGMs enable retail shareholders and the board a singular and unscripted alternative to meet and have conversations in individual.”
Whereas some corporations had plans in place to enable buyers to submit a query electronically, Haworth stated this is also abused.
“If attendees can solely submit questions upfront and can't ‘increase their hand’ and ask them in actual time, this might enable corporations to cherry-pick which questions they reply,” she stated.
Earlier this week the London Inventory Change stated it will again quickly permitting corporations to maintain their annual meetings electronically this yr due to the pandemic.
The Chartered Governance Institute has printed steerage on annual meetings throughout the epidemic, drawn up along with the Monetary Reporting Council, which regulates auditors and company governance codes, and legislation agency Slaughter & Could.
Virtual-only meetings aren't viable given they might not represent legitimate meetings, however the articles of some corporations enable them to maintain hybrid meetings, that means a mix of bodily and digital, the steerage stated.
Corporations have the choice of fixing their articles to enable on-line meetings.
“The Corporations Act 2006 supplies flexibility to maintain a virtual AGM, however an organization’s personal Articles of Affiliation, guidelines written and agreed by the corporate, should enable for that as an possibility,” a enterprise ministry spokesman stated.
Reporting by Simon Jessop, modifying by Larry King, Kirsten Donovan