The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has advised non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to adopt electronic systems as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly has temporarily suspended all activities that require large gatherings or movement in large numbers between governorates.
Chairperson of FRA Mohamed Omran said, “In light of the prime minister’s decision, companies whose shares are listed on the stock market and NBFCs are obligated to prepare an electronic system for remote voting by shareholders. They should also allow shareholders to delegate authorised custodians to vote, in accordance with the Central Securities Depository and Registry Law. This would happen through a voting form in which all topics in the general assembly’s agenda are outlined.”
He added that the precautionary measures taken by the state agencies to counter the virus outbreak prompted the FRA to activate some of the options provided by the Law no. 159 of 1982 for joint stock companies-partnerships limited by shares-limited liability companies. The law allows companies whose shares are registered under the Depository and Registry system to adopt electronic system to announce the outcomes of the ordinary or extraordinary general assembly meetings as well as remote voting by shareholders who are entitled to participate and vote in the assembly.
Omran explained that Article 208 of the executive regulations of the Law allows delegates to attend general assembly meetings in accordance with a power of attorney or written authorisation. The law even provided further facilitations by giving authorisation to one of the custodians or registered owners in accordance with the provisions of the Central Depository and Registry Law.
He also demanded chairpersons of listed companies and NBFC to quickly prepare electronic systems to enable shareholders to vote remotely on the topics presented in the assembly without having to attend the meetings during the five working days preceding the general assembly.
At the end of the specified period of time for those wishing to vote remotely, the final file of the voting result is prepared after verifying the shareholder’s ownership of the company’s shares on the day of the assembly and handing it over to the company to approve the votes.
Omran said that general assemblies should take several recommendations into consideration, most importantly, choosing a place that can accommodate large numbers of people to prevent crowding and disease spreads, as well as making sure all surfaces are clean before anyone enters the hall and after they leave it.
He pointed out that people who have returned from one of the countries affected with the coronavirus are forbidden to attend the meeting before two weeks have passed since their return.
He also said that people who show any coronavirus symptoms will not be allowed in. Additionally, a device to measure body temperature (without contact) will also be used on everyone before they enter the hall.