21 May 2020
This year's AGM season has been anything but routine with listed companies resorting to extraordinary measures, both in relation to the manner in which they have been required to hold their AGMs and where they have held them – including in service stations, by golf courses and even in a car park in Hemel Hempstead!
The need to comply with the UK Government's "stay at home measures" has resulted in most listed companies following the supplementary guidance issued by ICSA: The Governance Institute in March 2020 which sets out guidance on how AGMs might be validly managed whilst the Government's restrictions are in place. Helpfully, the Government has now published draft legislation which, once it comes into force, will provide additional flexibility and certainty for companies on how they can hold and conduct general meetings in the period up to 30 September 2020. However, at a time when shareholders are unable to attend AGMs in person, companies are reminded of the need to consider how best to engage with shareholders and ensure their votes are counted and their questions answered.