The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has today welcomed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s decision to use his COVID-19 emergency powers to allow fully virtual AGMs and electronic signatures until November.
AICD CEO and Managing Director, Angus Armour, said, “This is a great example of the Treasurer listening to the needs of business during these uncertain times. These are important measures to provide a means to maintain accountability and give certainty on practical governance issues during the pandemic.”
The AICD also applauds the Federal Government’s agility in the face of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact across the business community, including the previously announced additional support for small business and not-for-profits, and regulatory relief.
The changes, which come into effect tomorrow, will allow companies to convene AGMs entirely online and give businesses certainty that when company officers sign a document electronically, the document has been validly executed.
For the next six months, company boards will be able to:
provide notice of annual general meetings to shareholders using email;
achieve a quorum with shareholders attending online; and
hold annual general meetings online.
“These changes highlight the need for a modernisation of outdated Corporations Act requirements post the COVID-19 period. The capacity for technology to improve accountability through visibility and accessibility, and to improve efficiency and manage costs at the same time has been demonstrated across the economy,” Mr Armour said.
“Our regulations need to adapt to 21st Century technologies to give companies the opportunity to engage with their shareholders across the community.
“Importantly, for those companies that choose to adopt a virtual component to their AGM, they can engage further with shareholders who may not be able to attend a physical meeting. Companies moving to virtual AGMs must take steps to protect shareholder participation in the meeting, including retail investors.”
Media Contact: Maegen Sykes 0439 167 567
The AICD is the independent and trusted voice of governance, building the capability of a community of leaders for the benefit of society. Our membership of more than 44,000 includes directors and senior leaders from business, government and the not-for-profit sectors.
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