By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Shareholders of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc. on Thursday lauded the bank’s decision to go ahead with the 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in spite of COVID-19.
The shareholders made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, while reacting to the bank’s plan to hold AGM slated for March 30 by proxy, to minimise social contact.
NAN reports that GTBank on March 25, in a notice to its shareholders and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said that the Corporate Affairs Commission granted its request to hold the meeting by proxy.
According to Investopedia, proxy is an agent legally authorised to act on behalf of another party or a format that allows an investor to vote without being physically present in a meeting.
Shareholders not attending a company’s AGM may vote their shares by proxy by allowing someone else to cast votes on their behalf, or they may vote by mail.
The bank had expressed concerns over the health hazards arising from the coronavirus pandemic, which could heighten by public gatherings.
“We are pleased to inform you that the Corporate Affairs Commission has graciously approved that the AGM should hold with attendance by proxy, to minimise social contact.
“Shareholders are encouraged to appoint proxies to represent them at the meeting, as the company would abide by the Lagos State Government directive of not having more than 25 people in a gathering (or any number as may be permitted at the date of the meeting),” the bank said in the notice.
Commenting on the issue, Mr Moses Igbrude, immediate Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), commended the bank for the idea.
“Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.
” Many companies postponed their AGMs because of COVID-19 pandemic, but GTBank decided to be strategic by exploiting other available ways of holding AGM instead of postponing it and delaying dividend payment which shareholders need most at this critical time,” Igbrude said.
The shareholder activist said that the bank had proved to be strategic and innovative.
He said that ISAN had nominated its Founder, Mr Sunny Nwosu, to be its proxy at the AGM.
Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., also hailed the bank for the initiative.
“It is a welcome development.
“The bank has domonstrated commitment to creating value for its shareholders for having faith in its management.
“It is also an indication that investors will get their dividends needed at this trying period,” Omordion said. (NAN)