20 December 2022
On 24 November 2022, Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”), the Singapore Institute of Directors (“SID”) and the Chartered Secretaries Institute of Singapore (“CSIS”) published standards for service providers that provide the systems that enable the holding of virtual and hybrid general meetings.
The Standard for Vendors of Virtual/Hybrid General Meeting Systems (“Standard”) sets out requirements and recommendations for the design, implementation, provision, maintenance and continual improvement of systems that enable the holding of virtual and hybrid general meetings by companies, and specifically the systems that support shareholders’ rights to attend, participate in, ask questions at, and vote in, such general meetings. Provisions covered in the Standard include the functional capabilities, general system availability levels and recovery positions of the systems.
With the standards made public, companies and investors may understand better what the digital services that are used at their meetings can do and how robust they are.
The release of the Standard follows SGX RegCo’s clarification, issued in May 2022, that companies that choose to conduct fully virtual general meetings must utilise both (i) real-time electronic voting and (ii) real-time electronic communication at their general meetings. The Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) had in April 2020 introduced temporary legislative relief (“Order”) allowing entities to hold general meetings via electronic means amid the Covid-19 situation. On 14 December 2022, MinLaw announced that the Order will be revoked on 1 July 2023.
SGX RegCo, SID and CSIS encourage all service providers of virtual/hybrid general meeting systems to adopt the Standard. All issuers are also encouraged to have regard to the Standard when choosing service providers for their virtual/hybrid shareholder meetings.
The following materials are available on the Singapore Exchange website www.sgx.com: