HARARE – The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has encouraged listed firms to convene virtual or electronic meetings while at the same time not barring them from convening physical meetings where appropriate.
The development follows various representations from the market concerning the challenges of convening annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings in the current environment.
“As such, the ZSE encourages Issuers to convene virtual or electronic meetings in line with section 170 (10) of the Companies and Other Business Entities Act, Chapter 24:31,” ZSE chief executive officer Justin Bgoni said.
As a result of coronavirus, most companies have scaled down operations and staff have put in self-isolation at home. Others have ordered workers to work from homes.
“This, however, does not prohibit Issuers from convening physical meetings where appropriate. In the event that an Issuer chooses to hold a physical meeting, the Issuer should follow Public Health Guidelines as stipulated by the Government of Zimbabwe.”
In the case, the issuer chooses to convene a virtual or electronic meeting, the virtual or electronic platform chosen by issuer should meet the following system requirements which includes allowing for identification of the shareholders or their proxies, recording of the attendance register and allowing shareholders or their proxies to fully participate in the meeting. The system should allow shareholders or their proxies to cast their votes electronically and the system/ application must be auditable in every respect should any dispute arise. Also, the system/application must be secure and encrypted to mitigate the risk of hacking.
When convening a physical meeting, the company must follow Public Health Guidelines as stipulated by the Government of Zimbabwe which include: ensuring that not more than fifty individuals at a time are gathered for that purpose, that every individual at the gathering complies with the social and physical distancing rules and that every individual at the gathering wears a mask, and ensure availability of alcohol based sanitizers for all attendees.
The local bourse said temperature checks must be done at points of entry and collection of individual information of attendees to assist in contact tracing in the event of infections.