Sunday 22 March 2020 7:42 pm

London Stock Exchange pushes for virtual AGMs due to coronavirus

The London Stock Exchange Group is lobbying for companies to be allowed to hold remote annual general meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.

LSE and other City groups are pushing for the government to make emergency amendments to the Companies Act to avoid disruption during the AGM season, Sky News reported. 

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The broadcaster said that law firms and major listed businesses are among those calling for urgent action ahead of a rush of shareholder meetings next month, which could be cancelled or poorly attended due to Covid-19 fears. 

The government has advised that the public practice “social distancing” by avoiding small and large gatherings. AGM attendees are often retired investors, placing them in one of the highest risk categories for coronavirus due to their age. 

However, many companies are not permitted to hold virtual meetings in place of in-person AGMs.

Law firm Linklaters previously said that hybrid meetings were “unusual in practice so far”.

“A minority of companies may have articles which allow them to hold general meetings that are entirely electronic,” the company told Sky News. 

“These ‘virtual-only’ meetings are even more unusual in UK practice and the standard investor guidance recommends that a physical place of meeting should always be provided.”

City AM has contacted LSE for comment.