As the global world prepares to get back to business as usual since the onset of COVID-19, there is a duty to remain cautious while venturing back into the world of much-needed meetings. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for all businesses operating in Singapore is a requirement set forth by the Accounting and Corporate Reporting Authority (ACRA)to provide shareholders within any given company an annual report of that company’s finances regarding profit and loss, access to voting opportunities regarding important company decisions, and provide an environment open to questions regarding the company’s ongoing activities. This meeting should be scheduled within 4 months of the company’s submission of year-end financial reports. Because of COVID-19, ACRA has provided a 60-day extension to conduct these meetings by July 31, 2020.
The Benefits of a Virtual AGM
In order to remain compliant with the Ministry of Health safe distancing rules, there is an option to provide this mandatory meeting via live streaming. Live-streaming an AGM meeting ensures adherence to the company’s commitment to its shareholders while incorporating newly designed rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19 using the best implementation of social distancing. This method allows participants to question speakers removing the concern of non-participation from the audience. In an Annual General Meeting, there is the possibility that shareholders will be required to vote on an issue such as a new director or the removal of the present director. In anticipation of this scenario, ACRA has issued guidance giving companies the ability to accept voting by proxy. ACRA is a Singapore government agency which monitors and directs the creation of business and its financial reporting practices.
The Singapore government offers many financial assistance programs to its companies in existence as well as those wishing to establish a business. One such grant provides a Singapore company with the funds to offer a virtual AGM during this period of COVID-19. The Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) offers $5,000 to companies upgrading in the departments of technology, productivity, human resources, and financial management. This grant is useful in providing funds so that companies may offer their shareholders a safe option when participating in a large crowd meeting for business. Although the presence of a grant will cut the cost of providing this meeting, there is also the built-in savings of using live-streaming versus the rental of large meeting spaces.
One such option to companies seeking a professional space from which to conduct a virtual meeting complete with safe distancing is the Spring Forest Studio. This Singapore business offers green screen webcasting allowing visual presentations of important documents and multiple presenters sharing the podium from different locations. Spring Forest Studio offers multiple choices in stage design as well.
With a virtual AGM business can proceed as usual eliminating the underlining question of safety.