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Sias, SID jointly produce guide on best practices for shareholder meetings

THE Securities Investors Association (Singapore) or Sias, and the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID), have come together to produce a guide on best practices for shareholder meetings that represents the perspectives of investors, companies and their board directors.

The 24-page publication covers key points such as the rights of shareholders, as well as the rules of etiquette applicable to both shareholders and board chairmen.

"Meaningful discourse at shareholder meetings is only possible when the board and shareholders have free and frank discussions," said Tan Boon Gin, CEO of Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), which supports the publication of the guide.

"This guide paves the way for open dialogue between directors and shareholders and enhances transparency and accountability for all," he added.

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The guide suggests certain best practices for shareholders, such as preparing for shareholder meetings by reading relevant materials like annual reports and recent company announcements, analysing the information and formulating key questions before the meeting, asking relevant and succinct questions, and treating the chairman of the board and other shareholders with respect.

It also suggests best practices for board chairmen, such as being fully knowledgeable about the rules of conduct for meetings, being fully familiar with the agenda and the business at hand, and providing adequate opportunity for all shareholders who wish to speak to do so. 

And it also proffers some best practices for companies by encouraging them to provide sufficient notice of the matters to be tabled at the meetings, engage in an active policy of communication with all shareholders, have their board of directors, management, external auditors and relevant professionals attend meetings, and to be available to answer questions and address shareholder concerns. 

David Gerald, president and CEO of Sias, said: "AGMs (annual general meetings) provide the opportunity to ask questions and seek accountability. This, in turn, will improve transparency and corporate governance in the company."

Tham Sai Choy, SID chairman, said: "(The guide) will help responsible companies enhance their investor relations efforts so as to actively engage and promote regular, effective and fair communication with shareholders." 

The Guide on Best Practices for Shareholder Meetings is available on the websites of Sias, SID and SGX.