EQB AGM Article 900X330

AGM Logistics

18 February 2021

The stage is set for a lively AGM season, and companies are again preparing their meetings in an uncertain environment.

In these unusual and challenging times, EQ is here to support you and ensure the successful planning and implementation of every aspect of your AGM.

What was learned from last year, and what is best practice for the 2021 AGM season?

Last year, the vast majority of companies used the temporary measures enabled through The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA) to allow closed shareholder meetings, regardless of the provisions in a company’s articles of association. With lockdown and social distancing measures in place, many companies adopted closed-door meetings for simplicity and safety whilst others opted to run a hybrid AGM.

The measures contained with the CIGA are due to expire on 30 March 2021, and we are aware that there are no current plans for these to be extended. Companies will, subject to government restrictions, have to make arrangements for a physical meeting. Consequently, we have researched government guidance and measures relating to public health and are pleased to share below our top practical tips to run a meeting in these uncertain times.

Balance safety with engagement

When organising a meeting this year, balancing safety with engagement is key. There is no one-size-fits-all; here is what you need to consider:

EQB AGM Article 800X900
  • Provide direction and retain flexibility
    For example: 'We recommend you do not attend the meeting for your safety. However, we encourage you to vote by proxy and participate in the meeting via electronic means'.
  • Be ready to react to changes.
    You will benefit from a flexible approach to your meeting's communication and planning, allowing you to react to current and future government legislation and guidance (before making any decisions, review the parameters of current articles of association).
  • If appropriate, look to amend your articles to allow for greater engagement and flexibility for future meetings.
  • Consider your shareholder engagement plan carefully.

Practical checklist

1. Meeting Arrangements: Information in your Notice of Meeting

☐ 󠄂Be aware of how you are required to communicate any changes to meeting arrangements with shareholders.
☐ 󠄂What powers does the Chair have to refuse entry either over capacity or Health & Safety concerns?
☐ 󠄂Will shareholders have the opportunity to ask questions before having to make an informed voting decision?
☐ 󠄂Check your articles specifically to consider if audio is required for shareholder participation.
☐ 󠄂Decide if face coverings will be required or needed at all times.

2. Attendance

☐ 󠄂Should all board members and key personnel attend in person? Consider the risk of infection and transmission.
☐ 󠄂Limit the attendance of employees, guests and third-party contractors.
☐ 󠄂Consider COVID testing and/or temperature checks of all attendees.
☐ 󠄂How will you enforce the use of face coverings?

3. Travel and accommodation

☐ 󠄂Reduce the use of public transport and consider private hire vehicles with COVID secure procedures in place.
☐ 󠄂If required, what accommodation is available or open in the area closest to the venue, and what is their COVID policy?

4. Venue

☐ 󠄂Carry out a risk assessment of the venue to ensure COVID secure procedures are in place.
☐ 󠄂What are the maximum attendance numbers for each area allowing for social distancing?
☐ 󠄂What are the plans for:

  • Cleaning How will chairs and shared equipment be sanitised? Is there hand washing facilities at the entrance and throughout?
  • Movement Are there clear markings on the floor? Is there a one-way system for stairwells and corridors? How will the escalators and lifts be managed? How many people can use the washroom facilities at any one time?
  • Queue management and security.
  • Registration Are there barrier screens in place?
  • Reduce touch points wherever possible: documents, refreshments, exhibitions.
  • Polling – poll boxes to limit contact.
  • Limitation removal of customer information or shareholder enquiry desks.

 

We’re here to support you

We've been working on the potential consequences of the pandemic on the 2021 season, creating solutions to help you, consistently reviewing them and updating them as the situation develops. We have a dedicated team that will continue to work on this, ensuring that you have the back-up to negotiate this most unusual AGM season.

If you have any questions or require any form of support from us, please don’t hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager or our Head of Meetings, Lisa Graham (Lisa.Graham@equiniti.com).

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