‘Extending AGM flexibility will help companies to prepare properly,’ ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute advises

London, 24 September 2020 – ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute is delighted that the government has extended the flexibilities around the arrangement of company meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (the Act) to 30 December 2020.

Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at the Institute, comments:

“The flexibilities for companies and other organisations arranging their general meetings that were granted in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 were very helpful in enabling those organisations to balance their obligation to hold a meeting against their responsibility to give due consideration to the health and safety of colleagues, customers, shareholders and the communities in which they operate, and gave them a firm legal foundation to plan and hold meetings in a COVID-compliant manner. These flexibilities only applied until 30 September, however, which was problematic in that company secretaries and governance professionals – our core membership – spend months preparing for their general meeting as these are a key element of governance. Balancing those months of preparation against the rapidly-changing measures that the government is introducing to manage the pandemic is an extremely difficult task.

“We have therefore written twice to the government, with the support of a number of other bodies, asking for an extension to the ‘relevant period’ defined in the Act and we are delighted that they will be acting on this request. An extension to 30 December addresses the immediate need and is the maximum extension that the government can give at this time but, given the approach of the main AGM season in Spring 2021 and the lengthy planning involved in these events, we hope that the government will give early consideration to a further extension.”

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For further information, please contact Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager:

+44 (0)20 7612 7072
+44 (0)7890 649 143

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Chartered Governance Institute is the qualifying and membership body for governance with over 125 years’ experience of educating and supporting governance professionals. With a Royal Charter purpose of leading ‘effective and efficient governance and administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’, we provide professional development, guidance and thought leadership, and work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards.

    The Institute has divisions in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong/China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Southern Africa, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. The division headquartered in London (known as ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute) represents and supports members in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Crown Dependencies and associated territories, which include the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Website: www.icsa.org.uk 
  2. The Institute’s letters to the government have been supported by the CBI, the City of London Law Society Company Law Committee, the GC100 – the Association of General Counsel and Company Secretaries working in FTSE 100 Companies, the Investment Association and the Quoted Companies Alliance.
  3. Under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, the government is only able to extend the legislation by statutory instrument for three months at a time, hence the date of 30 December as this is a three-month extension from the existing 30 September deadline.

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