The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced that its staff had published guidance to help public companies, investment companies, shareholders and other market participants impacted by COVID-19 with upcoming shareholder meetings. The new SEC guidance enables affected companies to announce changes in their meeting date/location or move to digital shareholder meetings without mailing additional materials or amending proxy materials. It also encourages companies to provide shareholders with alternative ways, such as by telephone, to present their proposals at annual meetings in light of challenges due to COVID-19.
According to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, “The SEC staff recognizes that many public companies and other market participants are transitioning to teleworking, virtual meetings and other contingency measures to address health concerns. Our staff stands ready to facilitate these transitions and we encourage market participants to contact us with requests for guidance or relief.”
“We support the SEC’s new guidance for making it possible for companies to hold their annual shareholder meetings digitally to avoid the need for in-person shareholder attendance right now,” said Sherry Moreland, president and COO at Mediant. “This will provide companies with the flexibility to move ahead with holding their annual meetings and for shareholders to vote on important issues.”
Mediant has supported corporate issuers’ annual meetings and proxy events for many years and recently launched MIC Digital Shareholder Meeting (MIC DSM). MIC DSM is a fully supported solution for virtual annual and ad-hoc shareholder meetings that is already in use by clients in the current annual proxy season. Enabled for all registered and beneficial shareholders, the solution is integrated into Mediant’s MIC investor communications platform allowing for easy access and improved shareholder engagement. MIC DSM is a component of Mediant’s end-to-end investor communications offering but can also be leveraged by firms needing a one-time practical alternative to the traditional in-person meeting. Providing ease of set up and quick turnaround, Mediant can coordinate the offering with a firm’s external master tabulator. As with all Mediant’s investor communications solutions, MIC DSM was designed to provide shareholders with a seamless and frictionless user experience via their preferred channel: computer, tablet or mobile device.