As is the case with board meetings, it is required at shareholder meetings that shareholders be able to ask questions and deliberate on the agenda items before taking a decision. Contrary to general belief, it is not required by law that shareholder meetings be held in person. Shareholder meetings can therefore be validly held by video conference or teleconference. In both cases, shareholders that cannot participate can grant a proxy to another person to represent them at the meeting, in accordance with the articles of association.
Of course, it is required that the board be able to verify the identity of the shareholders or their representatives participating in the meeting. This is not an issue if all shareholders are known to the company. However, this task will be more difficult if there are a large number of shareholders, as is the case with listed companies, or if the company has dematerialised shares that are easily transferable without having to inform the board in advance. For registered shares, the shareholder's identity should be mentioned in the share register along with the number of shares held and the votes attached thereto.
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