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Ideas & Debate

EDITORIAL: AGMs: Invest in digital tech

past AGM
Shareholders at a past AGM. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The current hitch in holding annual general meetings (AGMs) as a result of coronavirus pandemic should be a wake-up call for all companies to tap into the massive unexploited opportunities in the digital age.

Many companies cannot hold AGMs and as a consequence will delay dividend decision and also deny shareholders chance to change directors yet the use of virtual meetings could have offered solution without flouting current State freeze on meetings.

While many companies have changed their articles of association to allow for sending of annual reports via e-mail and holding virtual meetings, they have dithered on making the right investments to make this possible.

They should take a cue from western world countries where several online AGMs have taken root since the coronavirus outbreak as investors shun large gatherings.

Companies in sectors such as banking, which are posting strong margins should not neglect investments in such abilities given that they have been instrumental in encouraging digital products such as the e-payment systems.

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It is encouraging to see that on Thursday Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya #ticker:SCBK will hold a live-streamed 2019 annual financial result briefing via Twitter and Facebook.

The bank will also offer an audio conference call, giving shareholders a chance to dial and listen in.

This should be scaled up to AGMs. They should come out of this crisis wiser and having exploited things they have only thought of as theoretical.

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