Corporate annual general meetings, AGMs, are often derided for being sleepy. Yet, if Wednesday’s presentation by Euroclear Finland’s Anu Saarinen is an indication, they are at the crosspoint of several megatrends and could be up for a total makeover shortly.
The new shareholders rights directive, SRD II, seeks to improve the possibilities of shareholders to engage in how their target companies are run. The regulation has enabled a new standardized meeting messaging – a big step forward, according to Anu Saarinen.
She spoke with PostTrade 360° Helsinki on Thursday 19 November.
Shareholding has become more global over long time, building demand for remote participation rather than travel. The covid-19 situation has obviously driven expectations, as well as solutions, when it comes to digital participation and voting. But also, increasingly, corporate governance is moving into focus for various activists.
“Covid-19 made us all take a huge step forward in general meetings. The digital participation means we’re taken into use in all countries. Electronic voting, watching the meeting through webcast, and in very many countries digital online meetings, were on-boarded,” says Anu Saarinen.
The “digital online” meetings mean that shareholders can even vote and ask questions remotely.
“We don’t have those yet in Finland but we can see it coming and I am really hopeful that we could have them towards next spring.”
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