Back in July, we wrote an article on the changes introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act which provided temporary relief for Annual General Meetings (AGM), General Meetings (GM) and Companies House filing requirements in the wake of COVID-19.
On 25 November 2020, the temporary measures were extended again so they now end on 30 March 2021 (the ‘Relevant Period’). As such AGMs can continue to take place by electronic or any other means, notwithstanding the provisions contained in the Companies Act or a company’s articles of association. As such AGM/GM attendees need not be in the same place and shareholders do not have the right to attend in person.
So, what are the current arrangements?
Extensions to the AGM/GM COVID-19 measures
Where companies hold an AGM/GM up until 30 March 2021 they do not have to be held at any particular location, can use electronic voting or any other means and can be held across multiple locations.
That said, shareholders still do not have a right to attend the meeting in person, participate in the meeting other than by voting or dictate the means by which they can vote i.e. paper/electronic. This situation could however change as the Secretary of State has the power to change the requirements as they see fit so it’s important to stay well-informed.
Deferred 2020 AGMs
For those companies that chose to defer their 2020 AGM have until 30 March 2021 (extended from 30 December 2020) to hold their AGM. Again, it is important to note that this temporary reprieve cannot be extended by the Government beyond 5 April 2021 so meeting will need to be held by the end of March 2021.
Extended Companies House filing deadlines
Annual Accounts for years ending in 2019 that were due to be filed in 2020 had until the end of 2020 to file their accounts. The extension was automatic but will now have expired. In case you might be holding out for an additional extension to Companies House filings already granted, don’t this won’t happen as the Secretary of State’s powers to grant extensions for forms created in 2020 have already being fully utilised.
In conclusion, there are a number of further extensions given to organisations for their AGMs and other shareholder meetings however it is important to note that AGMs that have yet to be held in FY2020 must have been held by 30 March 2021 and extensions to annual account filings will not be extended beyond the 9 and 12 months already given. We will watch with interest as to whether new extensions are introduced for FY2021 AGMs and FY2020 accounts.