London Stock Exchange Presses For Virtual AGMs During Lockdowns

(Bloomberg) --

London Stock Exchange Group Plc is pushing for annual company meetings to be held over the web this year, while investors are kept away by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 300-year old bourse is trying to co-ordinate with regulators, shareholder groups and issuers to relax obligations for listed firms to meet shareholders at least once a year, according to an emailed statement.

“Given the unprecedented situation with COVID-19, London Stock Exchange supports time limited measures enabling resolutions to be passed this year by proxy, electronic voting or through the use of virtual AGMs,” the company said.

The second quarter usually brings a flurry of mass gatherings for investors in London-listed companies. The LSE has scheduled its own AGM for April 21. This year, the meetings clash with U.K. government advice for the public to stay indoors and counteract the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus.

Many companies have not previously agreed rules that would allow shareholders to vote on resolutions over the web, threatening to stall decision-making at businesses already grappling with fallout from the virus.

The Financial Conduct Authority has already advised companies to delay earnings statements that were due in the next few weeks as the economy lurches amid widespread shutdowns.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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