Sias issues AGM guidelines for shareholders in line with stricter social distancing measures amid Covid-19 outbreak

Sias president and chief executive David Gerald said that shareholders should avoid attending these meetings in person and follow AGMs via webcasts instead. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Companies that are expected to hold their annual general meetings (AGM) by June 30 will have to adhere to the advisory issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (March 24).

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

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

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

They should read the annual reports and send in any questions to the company at least one 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 chairperson of the general meeting, who will act as proxy during the meeting and direct their votes accordingly.

The Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) on March 19 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 general meeting 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 could 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. Companies whose financial year ended on Dec 31 have up till June 30 to do so.

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