Companies can now convene annual general meetings, and other meetings prescribed under the Corporations Act, entirely online rather than face-to-face. The Federal Government changes will also give businesses certainty that when company officers sign a document electronically, the document has been validly executed.
These changes were made under the instrument-making power inserted into the Corporations Act 2001.
Under the social distancing measures that are currently in place, it is difficult for shareholders to physically gather with members of the board at annual general meetings.
Under the changes, company boards will be able to:
- provide notice of annual general meetings to shareholders using email
- achieve a quorum with shareholders attending online, and
- hold annual general meetings online.
Meetings must continue to provide shareholders with a reasonable opportunity to participate. As a result, shareholders will be able to put questions to board members online and vote online.
Further changes will also allow company officers to sign a document electronically. Previously, in some cases, signatories were required to sign the same physical document. This change will ensure that documents are able to be properly executed at a time when ordinary business operations have been disrupted.
These changes will be in effect for six months from 6 May 2020.