‘Extension of AGM flexibility is welcome news for company secretaries,’ ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute advises

London, 26 November 2020 – ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute has welcomed the extension of flexibilities around company meeting arrangements included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (the Act), which the government has extended to 30 March 2021.

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

“The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 introduced welcome flexibilities for companies and other organisations which gave them a firm legal foundation to plan and hold meetings in a COVID-compliant manner. These flexibilities initially only applied until 30 September, however, which was problematic as company secretaries and governance professionals – our core membership – spend months preparing for their general meeting as these are a key element of governance.

“As 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 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. The government has acted on this request and extended the flexibility to 30 March 2021, which addresses the immediate need and is welcome news. It 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 or alternative solutions.

“In the meantime we have convened a working party to look at practical steps that organisations can take as they plan their meetings.”

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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 Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Liability for Wrongful Trading and Extension of the Relevant Period) Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament on 25 November 2020 and come into force on 26 November.

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