Public firms can hold virtual shareholders’ meetings | #cybersecurity | #conferences

  • By Kao Shih-ching / Staff reporter

Publicly listed companies are to be able to choose whether to hold annual shareholders’ meetings entirely or partly by videoconference, the Taiwan Depository and Clearing Corp (TDCC, 台灣集中保管結算所) said yesterday.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has limited public gatherings since the beginning of 2020, listed companies have not been allowed to hold annual shareholders’ meetings completely over videoconference, partially due to regulators’ concerns over cybersecurity and protecting shareholders’ interests.

As regulations have been amended to allow for virtual shareholders’ conferences, the TDCC is altering its information system to facilitate videoconferencing of shareholders’ meetings this year, chairman Sherman Lin (林修銘) told a news conference in Taipei.

Photo: Chen Yung-chi, Taipei Times

“It is possible that we will see two ways in which a shareholders’ meeting is held this year — a company should be able to choose whether it wants a pure virtual meeting, or hold a physical meeting while allowing some shareholders to attend through a videoconferencing tool,” Lin said.

The rules set by the Financial Supervisory Commission would regulate what kind of companies are eligible to convene shareholders’ meetings virtually, Lin added.

Companies that plan to have crucial shareholders proposals addressed at their meetings, such as those involving management disputes, would likely be barred from holding such a meeting entirely over videoconference to prevent controversy, the agency said.

Seventeen companies held physical meetings while allowing virtual attendance last year, compared with 1,744 public companies that could not, agency data showed.

More companies are expected to employ videoconferencing tools to hold virtual meetings as a supplement to in-person meetings this year, the agency said.

Amendments to the Company Act (公司法) passed last month enable private companies to freely convene shareholders’ meetings completely by videoconferencing from this year, but impose more rules on public companies to ensure shareholders’ rights are preserved.

The commission plans in March to unveil new rules regulating how public companies hold virtual shareholders’ meetings.

TDCC yesterday reported a record net profit of NT$6 billion for last year, with earnings totaling NT$13 per share, and its FundRich Securities Co Ltd (基富通) unit moved into the black, recording net profit of NT$130 million, it said.

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