AGMs by proxies ceases by January – CAC

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says guidelines on use of proxies by public companies for Annual General Meetings (AGMs) will cease to apply from Jan. 1, 2023.

The CAC Registrars-General (RG), Mr A.G Abubakar, said at the one-day Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) stakeholder’s dialogue with the theme: “CAC Guidelines on Proxies AGMS of Public Companies Post Covid-19: Matters Arising,” on Thursday in Lagos.

Abubakar, the Guest Speaker, was represented at the event by Mr Tolu Sonaike, Assistant Director, RG’s Office, CAC.

He said the guidelines would cease to apply after Dec. 31, noting that a public notice to the effect was issued on Monday.

“Accordingly, all public companies that have been granted approval to hold their AGMs using proxies are expected to do so not later than this date.

“A public notice to this effect was issued on Monday, Nov. 21, ” he said.

Abubakar recalled that the guidelines on use of proxies by public companies in holding AGMs were issued to address the particular concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate compliance by these companies with statutory obligations.

He noted that the compelling circumstances of the pandemic, which necessitated the guidelines had ceased to exist.

Abubakar urged public companies to ensure compliance with the new directive.

“Notwithstanding whatever benefits holding AGMs by proxies may have afforded the companies, the option is at the instance of individual members of the company and may not be foisted on any member,” he said.

He commended ISAN for being a proactive association committed to interest of its members and the economy at large.

Sir Sunny Nwosu, Coordinator Emeritu and Chairman of ISAN Universal Academy, said the association would continue to engage with market regulators for the development of the market and economy in general.

Nwosu said ISAN would continue to set standards for other shareholder groups in the country.

He said the dialogue aimed at retooling the new normal enthroned worldwide in 2020 through the global health challenge known as Corona virus or COVID-19.

“COVID-19 ushered in public health uncertainties that disrupted international economic order.

“The pandemic, which touched all sectors of the economy led to a new normal that metamorphosed into remote operations.

“As the new normal evolved in response to COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated the mandate for digital revolution, as many companies embraced and adjusted to the use of remote technology,” he said.

Mrs Cecilia Madueke, Company Secretary, Julius Berger Plc, said AGMs by proxies introduced by the CAC due to COVID-19 had been helpful to public companies.

Madueke described AGMs by proxies as a product of necessity, noting that Nigeria would have been left behind by the global economies due to COVID-19.

She commended the CAC for stopping the initiative saying that it was no longer relevant.