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Hosting AGMs safely during COVID-19

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21 May 2020

AIC responds to the Government’s Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2019-21.

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) welcomes the Government’s Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2019-21 which was introduced to Parliament yesterday. This bill will allow companies greater flexibility when hosting their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and other meetings.

Companies will be allowed to postpone their AGMs and will be able to host virtual AGMs, even if the right to do so is not currently included in the company’s Articles of Association. The legislation applies to AGMs and other meetings from 26 March to 30 September 2020. For further information on the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2019-21 click here.

Ian Sayers, Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “We welcome this pragmatic regulation which will allow member investment companies to host AGMs in a safe manner. We have previously argued that such measures were vital to protect shareholders, directors and employees, whilst also upholding high standards of corporate governance. This regulation deserves widespread support from the House of Commons.

“Despite some views to the contrary, it’s sensible to allow companies to delay their AGMs, which will give them time to move to virtual alternatives. Virtual meetings will enable shareholders to be fully engaged with companies in these challenging times. We also welcome the backdating of the legislation to March to help companies fully benefit from the changes. The regulation may also take time to pass through Parliament given the challenges of social distancing when managing parliamentary business.”

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Notes

  1. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) was founded in 1932 to represent the interests of the investment trust industry – the oldest form of collective investment. Today, the AIC represents a broad range of closed-ended investment companies, incorporating investment trusts and other closed-ended investment companies and VCTs. The AIC’s members believe that the industry is best served if it is united and speaks with one voice. The AIC’s mission statement is to help members add value for shareholders over the longer term. As at the end of April, the AIC had 362 members and the industry had total assets of approximately £191 billion.
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