New guide to navigating virtual AGMs, e-document execution and e-shareholder communications

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

To help organisations navigate the ongoing uncertainty around holding AGMs and executing electronic documents, a new guide has been released as a joint initiative between four key stakeholder groups.

The new Guidance: Update on AGMs, electronic document execution and digital shareholder communications has been released today.

The guidance is a joint initiative between Governance Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australasian Investor Relations Association, and the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

Key issues covered in the guide include:

  • The latest legislative and regulatory updates, and what these mean for holding virtual-only AGMs, hybrid AGMs and issuing notices of meeting.
  • Tips for holding AGMs in the current environment, including how to build in flexibility in case of changing circumstances such as another COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Some key learnings from the 2020 AGM season on how to best prepare, mitigate risks and engage shareholders at meetings that use digital technology.
  • What you need to consider before and during the AGM.

Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto said the new Guidance will provide much-needed clarity on this evolving issue.

“More than one year on from the onset of COVID-19, and the law on virtual AGMs and electronic document execution is still unclear and modernisation reforms have stalled in Parliament in the middle of the AGM mini-season,” Ms Motto said.

“This guide will provide clarity about the current state of play, and how organisations can best proceed in what continues to be an evolving, uncertain landscape.”
AICD Managing Director and CEO, Angus Armour said AGMs are a critical forum for shareholders and members to hold boards to account.

“The 2020 AGM season showed that well-run virtual and hybrid AGMs can deliver on governance needs,” Mr Armour said.

“Our joint guidance has a strong focus on why effective shareholder participation in virtual AGMs is critical and will help boards and company secretaries plan and run successful meetings in this uncertain period.”

Download a copy of the report here.

Media Contact: Maegen Sykes 0439 167 567

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