JSE launches virtual AGM platform in response to Covid-19 lockdown

Alexander Forbes will be the first company to test the new platform at their next AGM.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has launched the first virtual AGMs in South Africa in partnership with The Meeting Specialist (TMS). 

JSE Capital Markets director Valdene Reddy (pictured) says that JSE-listed companies still need to engage with their shareholders and hold AGMs. “Finding enabling solutions for our clients is a key focus for us and our ‘new normal’ has led us to introduce this new offering, proof that inclusivity and sustainable ways of working is achievable.”

According to a statement, the virtual AGM platform will make it possible for clients to engage with shareholders in a time when South Africa is faced with a 21-day lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and business continuity is paramount to ensuring the running of the South African economy.

The platform will allow participants to connect from any location in the world using smart devices. TMS will ensure a concise record of all attendees during an AGM, secure auditing and provide technical support. 

JSE head of issuer relations and company services Ursula du Plooy says: 

“We find ourselves in unprecedented times and that has encouraged businesses to be agile and innovative in their approach.”

Alexander Forbes will be the first company to test this new platform for their AGM after restrictions were placed on public gatherings due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Shareholders of the company will have access to the electronic engagement and voting features that the AGM platform provides. 

Alexander Forbes executive of governance, legal and compliance Carina Wessels says: 

“While we believe that virtual meetings will in due course become widely accepted, or at least become a routine adjunct to conventional meetings as this is where the future of doing business is heading to, the immediate availability of this service is particularly relevant in today’s volatile economic climate.” 

The JSE will continue to offer the portal after the Covid-10 crisis.