It is that time of the year again, when your company’s leaders and shareholders gather for the Annual General Meeting. But the traditional AGM format is now a no-go thanks to Singapore’s new COVID-19 mandates. Here, we break down the main regulatory changes stipulated by SGX, and what they mean for your company’s AGM experience.
Regulatory Changes to AGMs
- Due to Singapore’s 10-person limit on public gatherings, AGMs can now be held via electronic means. Companies must provide both an audio broadcast and audio-visual broadcast to members.
- Notice of the AGM must include details of how to access the meeting via electronic means.
- A quorum can now be formed with just two members of the company. This stipulation overrides any existing company policy.
- Virtual attendance at AGM will now be accounted for. This is in contrast to the previous policy that only shareholders who turn up in person will be considered as being in attendance.
- Shareholders can only vote by way of appointing the chairperson as a proxy, via either post or electronic means.
- Companies must give members the opportunity to submit questions and objections prior to the meeting by post or electronic mail. Management must then respond to these questions before or at the meeting.
SGX is offering every eligible company up to S$5000 to help defray the costs of setting up an alternative AGM arrangement. However, making the transition from a traditional AGM to a virtual or hybrid AGM is uncharted territory for most companies. If managed poorly, this move could lead to unhappy shareholders, unfulfilled meeting objectives and non-compliance penalties. The last thing anyone wants is to end the fiscal year on a sour note. Therefore, it is crucial your company finds the virtual meeting platform that best fits your AGM needs.
Transitioning to Virtual AGMs
This is where we come in — our newest product, AGM@Convene, empowers your organization to hold seamless and secure virtual AGMs. In fact, a virtual format can actually better serve your organization’s meeting goals since our AGM software offers significant advantages for shareholder participation and engagement as well as meeting transparency and accountability. Here’s how AGM@Convene can help your company stay fully compliant with SGX’s latest guidelines while still giving shareholders the meeting experience they expect:
Secure issue of meeting notice
The notice shareholders receive comes with a unique security code that facilitates easy pre-authorisation and delegation of meeting roles. Shareholders can access our platform using the security code and SMS 2-factor authorization to view materials, designate proxy and raise questions even ahead of the meeting.
Shareholders can use our digital proxy forms, which the system will automatically stop accepting 72 hours prior to the meeting in accordance with SGX’s stipulations. Afterwards, the system will auto-generate a consolidated proxy summary for the share registrar to verify the validity of shareholdings.
Virtual attendance with live webcast
Our LiveStream service, equipped with both video and audio feeds, facilitates virtual attendance at AGM. This even increases meeting access by transcending geographical barriers that might have hindered meeting participation for members in the past. Furthermore, attendees (via both audio-visual and audio means) will be automatically tracked by the eAGM system for the company secretary.
Submission of questions and concerns
Our platform comes with a managed Q&A section, which members can use to bring up concerns and objections both prior to and during the AGM. It also ensures management can easily respond to the queries raised.
For shareholders in attendance, our real-time weighted voting system facilitates instant display of poll results; for those who are unable to attend, they can leverage our digital proxy forms and proxy voting system. Regardless, the platform upholds accountability from start to finish. A full audit trail and live poll results ensure a complete and transparent record of the proceedings. Scrutineers can then easily compile these into detailed summary reports and data exports.
Undeniably, COVID-19 has ushered in a period of uncertainty. This makes it even more imperative for you to place your organization in the best possible position to discuss and decide your business goals. Time is of the essence, so reach out today to learn more about AGM@Convene or to schedule an online product demonstration with us.
Need more information on virtual AGMs? Read our Guide to Virtual AGMs here.