The MFSA has published a circular outlining a number of recommendations which Maltese listed entities should consider when planning remote general meetings. Given that the season for holding general meetings will shortly be upon us, and several companies are currently planning their annual general meetings, the MFSA's circular is most welcome given the difficulty (and relative novelty) of holding remote general meetings in the present circumstances.
Below is a brief outline of the MFSA's recommendations.
- Easy access to AGM / EGM live stream. The MFSA has suggested that general meetings held virtually make use of real time live streams in order to give all shareholders (including minority shareholders) to follow the meeting in real time. Details on how to access the live stream should be clearly communicated in the notice, and possible even in a company announcement.
- Facilitation of shareholders' interaction. The MFSA also suggests that companies to set up different channels which shareholders can use to communicate with the company, for example, live online chat, telephone (including a dedicated helpline) and email. In line with market practice, the MFSA has also suggested that companies set up specific email addresses to which shareholders can submit questions in advance of the general meeting.
- Planning and contingency plans. Companies are also advised to have contingency plans if things go wrong. For example, companies should ensure that they can secure adequate internet connectivity, should their usual internet service be interrupted.
- Adequate streaming provider. The MFSA also advised companies to be cautious when selecting in third party providers. In particular, companies should seek to select providers who can provide robust and thorough services, even if such services may be a bit more costly.
- Meeting the Malta Association of Small Shareholders. Companies are also encouraged to meet the Malta Association of Small Shareholders to ensure that the interests of small shareholders are also taken into consideration in the planning stage.
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