The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday, March 19, edition that unnamed sources say Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, Canadian Western Bank, Laurentian Bank of Canada, Manulife and Great-West Lifeco will jointly seek a court order on Friday authorizing them to hold virtual-only annual general meetings in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Globe's Rita Trichur and Christine Dobby write that the banks are taking action now because their AGM dates are looming -- with fiscal year-ends of October, they must hold AGMs before the end of April to be within a six-month window required by law. As corporate leaders, Canada's biggest financial institution will be watched closely by other publicly traded companies.
Securities lawyers have faced a flood of inquiries from clients on the topic in recent weeks. As the COVID-19 crisis deepened, it has become increasingly clear that in-person gatherings are not just inadvisable, but new temporary government restrictions are making meetings of more than a handful of people impossible.
Yet, corporate governance rules still require companies to hold annual meetings, and businesses are consulting on how to shift to a virtual format.
© 2020 Canjex Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.