IRPAS response to SGX RegCo Regulatory Announcement on holding of general meetings amid COVID-19 (19 March 2020)

The Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”)’s proactive response continues to speak well of Singapore regulatory agencies’ nimbleness in managing crisis situations, in this case the COVID-19. It has huddled with the other regulatory agencies namely the Accounting and CorporateRegulatory Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore to provide guidance on the holding of annual general meetings (“AGMs”) amid the COVID-19 situation. Among the many practical precautionary suggestions on holding the AGMs at a physical location, it has encouraged and will stand ready to help issuers where possible to adopt further digital tools for the conduct of their general meetings. Issuers are also allowed for their directors, who may be precluded from attending the general meeting in person due to travel restrictions or for health reasons, to attend the general meeting through virtual means.

These steps are in addition to the SGX Care Package announced on 16 March 2020, and an extension for issuers with 31 December financial year-end to hold their AGMs by 30 June 2020. This package facilitates AGMs amid social distancing, travel and visitor restrictions and will be dealt directly with the respective issuers’ according to their needs. In short, SGX recognises that shareholder voting is a crucial pillar of the corporate governance process, and this guidance ensures that AGMs are robustly conducted yet within the precautionary measures that has been instituted by the government.

Separately, IRPAS expects its IR practitioners to articulate the coronavirus in the risk factors of their filings if applicable; their operations in China and other nations if significantly affected by COVID-19; disclosures on supply chains, distributors and customers in the region; and other relevant aspects on the impact of COVID-19.

Harold Woo
President, IRPAS