Sias issues AGM guidelines for shareholders in line with stricter Covid-19 measures

Companies that are expected to hold their annual general meetings (AGMs) by June 30 will have to adhere to the advisory issued by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

Stricter social distancing measures mean that all large-scale events have to be deferred or cancelled, while gatherings are to be restricted to 10 people or fewer.

As such, the Securities Investors Association (Singapore), or Sias, yesterday provided guidelines to help shareholders navigate the annual AGM season, now that companies are unlikely to be able to hold physical meetings.

Sias president and chief executive David Gerald said shareholders should avoid attending these meetings in person, but follow the AGMs via webcasts.

They should read the annual reports and send in any questions to the company at least a week ahead of the AGM. Investors should also stay updated via the companies' websites or SGXNet announcements.

In addition, shareholders should continue exercising their voting rights on corporate elections and other resolutions.

They are advised to submit proxy forms to appoint a chairman of the general meeting, who will act as proxy during the meeting and direct their votes accordingly.

The Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) last Thursday recommended that companies promptly notify shareholders of alternative AGM arrangements and give them ample time to consider the matters at hand and vote via proxy.

All instructions on how to participate in the AGM should be made through an announcement on SGXNet. These include arrangements for shareholders to ask questions, as well as video and webcast facilitation of the meeting, such that shareholders can attend remotely.

Sias also cautioned shareholders not to congregate to watch the webcast.

Last month, SGX RegCo extended the deadline for listed firms to hold their general meetings by two months.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2020, with the headline 'Sias issues AGM guidelines for shareholders in line with stricter Covid-19 measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe