Coronavirus: NSE Releases Guidance for Effective Virtual Meetings

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The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday published guidance on virtual board, committee and management meetings for stakeholders in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance, according to the Exchange, is in response to the shift from conventional physical meetings to virtual meetings precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the critical need to protect investors’ interests.

Mr Oscar Onyema, NSE Chief Executive Officer, described the development as one of its “Thought Leadership” initiatives, designed to provide direction to market and other stakeholders.

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Onyema said the initiative would help stakeholders to carry out successful, productive, and rewarding virtual meetings at this time and other times when in-person meetings were unfeasible.

“The NSE has provided this Guidance to assist our stakeholders with identifying and adopting best practices and procedures, and complying with applicable corporate governance standards whilst conducting their virtual meetings.

“The goal is to ensure that when companies opt for virtual participation in meetings, they are accessible, transparent, efficient, and cost-effectively managed while meeting the important business and corporate governance needs of all relevant stakeholders,” Onyema said.

He said that matters addressed in the Guidance relate to statutory and regulatory considerations, availability of technological infrastructure, inclusion and management of external attendees, information security, protocols and participants’ responsibilities, amongst others.

Addressing concerns around the virtual meeting, Ms Tinuade Awe, NSE Executive Director, Regulation, said it recognises the legal and regulatory uncertainties that Nigerian businesses might face regarding convening virtual meetings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awe noted that the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap. C20 LFN 2004 (CAMA) was silent on the issue of virtual meetings and does not expressly prohibit it.

“It is, therefore, expedient that the Articles of Association of a company or its Board, Committee, and Management Charters or Terms of Reference should provide for and authorise virtual meetings,” she stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Exchange has continued to provide an enabling regulatory environment to stakeholders since the activation of its business continuity plan on March 23.

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