A new suite of amendments to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act was passed in Parliament on 4 Sep 2020. Among these amendments is the provision to allow virtual AGMs to continue to be held until 30 June 2021, whether or not Covid-19 restrictions are still in place. (Parliament: Virtual AGMs, shareholder meetings to be allowed until June 30 next year)
During the second reading of the amendment bill, Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong remarked that by unbinding alternative meeting arrangements from the duration of any Covid-19 control order, the extension gives organisations the option to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission during their meetings by holding them virtually, even while restrictions on physical meetings are gradually being relaxed.
In a press release announcing the coming into force of these amendments on 29 Sep, the Ministry of Law also added clarifications that real-time electronic Q&A during the proceedings of the virtual AGM is allowed. (COVID-19: Alternative arrangements for meetings extended until end-June 2021)
Among a suite of announcements by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on 20 Oct, 2020 is the provision allowing work-related in-person events such as conferences and AGMs to take place at third-party venues from 22 Oct onwards. These events can be attended by up to 50 people, subject to any additional policies by the owners of those venues. (Live performances in S'pore allowed to resume at designated venues from Nov. 1, 2020)
While these new regulations allow your virtual AGM to be conducted at an entirely new level of flexibility, there understandably remain a multitude of concerns among organisations as to how best to conduct the virtual AGMs.
One of the greatest concerns many shareholders share about virtual AGMs is the lack of human contact limiting the level of interactivity that they have become accustomed to with in-person meetings, as previously they have had to submit their questions beforehand, allowing company management to potentially cherry-pick the questions which have been submitted, and have sufficient lead time to prepare responses to them, with shareholders having no means to follow up on their queries. With the information flow overwhelmingly in the favour of the company management, shareholders are understandably worried about the erosion of transparency between company management and their shareholders. (Virtual AGMs leave shareholders wanting the real thing)
Additionally, there remains a significant possibility of human error in voting on resolutions by proxy during virtual AGMs, as participants must appoint the chairman or convenor of the meeting as their proxy, who becomes responsible for all the votes they are casting on behalf of all voting participants. If your company constitution allows for voting to be carried out online
While in-person AGMs can now be attended by up to 50 people at third-party venues, there remain concerns regarding event logistics and inclusiveness, especially for global organisations with more than 50 stakeholders based in different parts of the world.
This, however, opens up the option to organise a hybrid AGM, in which an in-person AGM is held, while those unable to attend in person join the meeting virtually. And although real-time Q&A is now an option available to organisations, how this element is implemented during the fully virtual or hybrid AGM will greatly impact the participation experience of every stakeholder, especially in terms of inclusiveness and interactivity.
This is where we at Six Media can bring to you our technical expertise to help you ensure every participant to your AGM, whether they are attending in person or remotely from any location using any device, will enjoy the most secure, accessible, inclusive, and interactive AGM attendance experience possible, tailored to all your hybrid or virtual AGM needs.
Our highly scalable virtual AGM platform allows any number of stakeholders to participate in the proceedings of your meeting from anywhere in the world using any device that is connected to the Internet, while ensuring the security of your virtual AGM by providing every participant with unique login credentials to gain access to our virtual AGM platform, where all the interactivity elements will be available to them, including real-time Q&A, voting, and even the weighting of their votes, all tied to their individual unique login credential, providing every stakeholder with the highest possible level of interactivity during the meeting. If your company constitution allows for stakeholders to vote on resolutions in real-time during the virtual AGM, we are able to instantly compile and tabulate vote results, greatly minimising the possibility of human error in the voting process, while ensuring maximum transparency between management and shareholders.
We are committed to working in close partnership with you to deliver the hybrid or virtual AGM most suited to your every requirement. Contact us today to find out how we can bring your hybrid or virtual AGM to life!