On 28 April, the Financial Conduct Authority published an update for mutual societies on general meetings in a COVID-19 environment.
The FCA emphasises that “it is for societies to reach their own decision as to whether to go ahead with any planned meeting, taking into account any relevant Government guidance, their own individual circumstances and, where appropriate, legal advice”, but goes on to confirm that “where, following Government guidance, the postponement of a general meeting results in a breach of a legislative requirement, it may fall to the FCA to make a decision as registering authority as to what if any action we take. We do not consider it to be in the public interest for us to take action in this context where we can see that a society is taking steps to ensure they meet the legislative obligation as soon as reasonably practicable. Members of societies will, of course, retain the ability to take action in accordance with their rights under the rules of a society.”
Of course those societies that have listed securities will need to continue to abide by their obligations under the Market Abuse Regulation and the Listing Rules.
The full guidance can be found: https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/information-firms-coronavirus-covid-19-response#mutual