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CMA issues rules for holding online general meetings of listed firms and funds

16 Apr 2020

To facilitated the listed companies amid ongoing situation due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) has issued new rules on convening general meetings of the public joint stock companies and investment funds through electronic means. 

The new rules set the stage to launch a system to convene and hold general meetings online. The CMA has issued a detailed circular explaining the procedures to be followed in organizing such online general meetings. 

This is first time in the region where the general meeting agenda will be submitted to and approved by the CMA electronically, and the agenda and notice can be viewed by shareholders online and shareholders can remotely vote on the meeting resolution. 

Muscat Clearing and Depository Company (MCDC) has, in collaboration with Omantel and Blockchain Solutions and Services (BSS), developed a secure local electronic platform to facilitate the process of convening and administering general meetings. 

“It is a matter of great pride that this complex system has been locally developed by Omani IT professionals within record time recognizing the criticality of the need when public joint stock companies were barred from convening their annual general meetings (AGM) to prevent further spread of coronavirus. The CMA commissioned this project and provided all regulatory and logistics support to urgently launch this system,” H E Sheikh Abdullah Salim al Salmi , executive president of the CMA, said in a press statement issued on Thursday. 

The new rules allow the shareholders to register their votes online on the proposed resolutions starting three days prior to the scheduled date of general meeting. However, the vote can be changed during the meeting but before the voting is closed by the chairman of the meeting. The electronic platform will maintain utmost confidentiality of such pre-voting and will not reveal it except during voting on the item at consideration during the meeting. 

The listed companies and funds shall have to coordinate with MCDC after the agenda approval by the CMA to host the meeting on MCDC’s electronic platform to enable online viewing of agenda voting on resolutions and remote participation by the shareholders. 

A link to view agenda and attend meeting would be sent by MCDC to the mobile numbers and email ids registered by investors with them. 

The CMA has temporarily reduced the notice period of the general meeting from 15 days to 10 days to facilitate the completion of general meetings including AGM for the previous financial year that was suspended by CMA earlier. 

The CMA would start working on new AGM time-table and would start approving the latest general meetings agenda starting from next week to facilitate organizing suspended general meetings of public joint stock companies and investment funds. 

The CMA also intends to host a webinar at which CMA and MCD officials would give a brief about the new system and hold interactions with the representatives of public joint stock companies, investment funds, legal advisors and auditors. The details of this webinar would be hosted on CMA and MCDC website shortly. The CMA and MCDC would also issue further press releases as and when required and MCDC will forthwith publish a user manual with detailed guidelines. 

 

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