AICD welcomes extension for virtual AGMs and e-signatures

Friday, 31 July 2020

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has today welcomed the Treasurer’s six-month extension of the temporary relief measure allowing for virtual AGMs and e-signatures.

With COVID-19 continuing to impact across the economy, the AICD previously called on the Federal Government to extend a range of temporary relief measures beyond their initial six-month timeframe.

Today, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced an extension allowing companies to “convene annual general meetings, and other meetings prescribed under the Corporations Act, entirely online rather than face-to-face” and “give businesses certainty that when company officers sign a document electronically, the document has been validly executed.”

These measures have been extended until 21 March 2021.

AICD CEO and Managing Director, Angus Armour, said, “This is a very welcome step which is indicative of the Government listening to the needs of business and responding quickly to changing circumstances.”

“Given the on-going challenges faced by business, particularly as lockdowns continue in Victoria and NSW is placed on high alert, this extension will provide much-needed certainty for organisations’ forward planning and allow commerce to continue as smoothly as possible as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.”

The AICD continues to call for an extension for other relief measures, including the temporary relief for directors from personal liability for trading while insolvent and the amendments which re-insert a fault element into continuous disclosure laws.

Importantly, the insolvent trading relief only applies until 25 September 2020. The AICD believes this should be extended until the end of 2020.

“This measure would support otherwise viable entities to continue to trade through the uncertainty of COVID-19 but it is in no way a ‘free pass’ for directors who must continue to assess the ongoing financial liability of their organisation, as well as the impact of incurring further debts,” Mr Armour said.

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