Still too many AGMs clashing

Despite the efforts by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore (CSIS) to evenly spread out companies' annual general meetings (AGMs), the schedule shows that there are still days where a number of AGMs will be held ("New online calendar spreads out AGM dates this month"; last Friday).

For instance, on April 29, nine AGMs are scheduled to be held in the morning, while on April 21, eight will be held in the afternoon.

If shareholders wish to attend more than one meeting, they will not be able to do so, and will have to prioritise their attendance.

In my letter on April 24, 2014 ("Benefits of shifting financial year"), I emphasised the need for companies to shift their financial year to run from April 1 to March 31 the following year, instead of the traditional calendar year.

If some companies were to do this, advantages include employees being able to go on vacations during the year-end period and the possibility of negotiating for lower "off-peak period" fees with auditing firms.

Apparently, there has not been much progress on this, if this month's AGM clashes are anything to go by.

Ideally, there should be only one AGM in the morning and one in the afternoon, so that shareholders can attend both meetings.

Taking into account that there are only 21 working days this month, I hope SGX and CSIS can do more to address this issue.

Andrew Seow Chwee Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2016, with the headline 'Still too many AGMs clashing'. Print Edition | Subscribe