The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), in partnership with The Meeting Specialist (TMS), has launched virtual AGMs in South Africa. This will enable clients to engage with shareholders, making it a critical tool for business continuity.

The need to support businesses is especially vital at this time, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the South African economy has been devastating.

Ursula du Plooy, Head of Issuer Relations and Company Services at the JSE, says, “We find ourselves in unprecedented times and that has encouraged businesses to be agile and innovative in their approach.”

The online AGM platform is a cost-effective solution, which allows participants to connect from any location in the world on their smart devices. It allows for screen sharing and electronic voting, maintains a record of all attendees, and is set up for secure auditing. It also provides technical support.

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

Valdene Reddy, Director of JSE Capital Markets, adds, “Our listed companies still need to engage with their shareholders and hold AGM’s. Finding enabling solutions for our clients is a key focus for us and our ‘new normal’ has led us to introducing this new offering, proof that inclusivity and sustainable ways of working are achievable.”

The upcoming general meeting for Alexander Forbes shareholders will take advantage of this new facility, and will be the first fully remote and web-based shareholder meeting of its kind in South Africa.

“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,” says Carina Wessels, executive governance, legal and compliance at Alexander Forbes.

The JSE has indicated it will continue to offer this service even after the COVID-19 crisis, as it is an ideal mechanism for engaging with stakeholders.