In 2020, shareholders will switch from attending general meetings in person to using electronic voting services. This trend will be supported by legislative changes and the current epidemiological situation caused by COVID-19.
Russian laws let issuers refuse to hold shareholders meetings in joint attendance in 2020 following resolutions adopted by Board of Directors (Supervisory Boards) and to conduct general meetings only via remote voting.
Appropriate innovations are provided for by the Law which came into effect after its official publication on 18 March 2020.
Experts assume that if an issuer refuses to conduct a meeting in person, an alternative method can be used – electronic services allowing shareholders to vote remotely. Joint stock companies will be able to maintain and even increase the share of active shareholders.
“Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 situation, digital services have become more popular. All over the world, companies are switching to online activities and reducing the number of personal meetings. In these circumstances, remote voting is a safe way to join a meeting as compared with personal attendance or ballot delivery by mail. NSD offers its E-Voting service which has already shown itself to be a convenient and reliable way on the Russian market for an issuer to convene a meeting of shareholders and let shareholders vote on agenda items. The E-Voting service allows voting from anywhere in the world. Participants can also view the meeting’s agenda and materials, follow the meeting online, and connect the issuer. E-Voting lets shareholders continue to have an influence on their company’s operations, and issuers will be able to observe shareholders’ interests. We expect the number of shareholders using the E-Voting service will double (in 2019, 4.5 thousand shareholders participated in this),” said Denis Buryakov, Managing Director for Depository Operations, NSD.