Coronavirus rewrites Europe’s AGM rules

Author: Jimmie Franklin | Published: 20 Apr 2020

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Coronavirus-related disruption to AGMs [annual general meetings] poses a headache for shareholders if they wish to take the company in a different direction.

Covid-19 has spurred a rethink for companies throughout Europe following legislation that impacts public meetings being implemented. This has meant that companies have had to revise their AGM plans, with shareholders risking lost influence.

"Access to remote voting and participation during the AGM differs between companies. In the best-case scenario, even if intervention during the meeting is allowed, it’s not the same as posing a question in person. There is less visibility and a risk that the company filters the questions or does not answer properly," said Juan Prieto, managing director of Spanish proxy advisor Corporance.

"There are also issues surrounding the identification and entitlement of the shareholder, which is vital, especially regarding institutional investors,...