Further changes needed to upcoming AGMs

By Jerome Doraisamy|07 April 2020

The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has sparked more recommendations on how best to ensure your annual general meeting remains compliant.

Two weeks ago, Lawyers Weekly reported that the need for contingency plans to AGMs had revealed “key failings” in the Corporations Act, with the ongoing pandemic drawing attention to issues in the laws governing AGMs.

Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto said at the time that the current difficult situation for companies of all sizes has put a spotlight on the need for an overhaul of the laws.

“It is time to bring the Corporations Act into the 21st century. Business currently finds itself exposed to many of the shortcomings of our existing legislation – and this has sped up the need for an overhaul,” she proclaimed.

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However, a fortnight on, Governance Institute is saying that – as the federal government continues to ramp up its restrictions on gatherings and distancing – the “hybrid meeting” that many organisations were looking to utilise as their contingency plan “may no longer be an option”.

Ms Motto is encouraging companies to “keep in regular contact with their shareholders and investors as the situation evolves”, as the Governance Institute itself continues its discussions with investor representatives and regulatory authorities.

“There are 290 ASX-listed companies who are due to hold their AGM by 31 May and the situation is changing rapidly. Arrangements made last week are no longer feasible this week,” she recounted.

“We encourage companies to liaise with their shareholders and significant investors about their arrangements and bring them up to date as circumstances change. Encourage them to lodge proxies.”

Further changes needed to upcoming AGMs
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