Webinar on “Impact of COVID-19 on Annual General Meetings in Asia-Pacific, with specific reference to ASEAN”


Jamie Allen, Secretary General, was invited to speak at a webinar on the “Impact of Covid-19 on AGMs in Asia-Pacific, with specific reference to ASEAN”, hosted by the ASEAN Corporate Secretaries Network (ACSN) and supported by the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA). More than 500 people joined the webinar from around ASEAN and other parts of the region, including Hong Kong.


The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying social distancing rules have created considerable challenges for companies trying to schedule annual general meetings (AGMs) in the first half of 2020. Financial regulators have been quick to respond with a range of policy responses: allowing extended deadlines for AGMs; encouraging “hybrid” (physical + online) or “virtual” (fully online) meetings; giving guidance on how to organise an effective online meeting; and advising companies on proper health measures to put in place for physical meetings. In most markets companies have shown flexibility by delaying their AGMs, adopting new electronic technology, and encouraging their shareholders to vote by proxy and send in questions in advance. While the corporate response has been mostly constructive, ACGA sees a greater degree of variation in market practices than expected and our presentation will highlight differences around the region. We also focussed on some of legal challenges that companies have faced in holding hybrid AGMs—specifically whether their articles of association allow for them—and provide preliminary views on the pros and cons of hybrid and virtual meetings. If managed well, we believe the hybrid model can enhance the value of the AGM to shareholders. Yet there are also concerns that electronic meetings might become the norm and result in a net decline in the governance function.

Click here to download the PowerPoint Presentation