2 minute read 8 Jun 2021
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How you can reimagine corporate governance while remaining compliant

By Mike Fry

EY Global Entity Compliance & Governance Leader

Global leader focussed on developing an exceptional client experience through a managed services model that incorporates innovation, automation and analytics.

2 minute read 8 Jun 2021
Related topics Law

Organizations have an opportunity to evolve traditional corporate reporting as they look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three questions to ask
  • In which jurisdictions can boards and shareholders reliably hold virtual meetings – and produce valid electronic resolutions?
  • Which deadlines have changed for company filing and annual shareholders' meetings?
  • What is the current position regarding local rules regarding remote board or shareholders' meetings which were changed to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic?

As we move to the “beyond” phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, multinational companies are trying to understand their immediate or pending obligations in a number of areas. In 2020, there were a number of legislative and regulatory changes in the areas of corporate reporting deadlines and remote attendance at board and shareholders’ meetings.

 

EY’s Global Corporate and Commercial Law Meeting and Digital Signature Guide has been updated to help legal teams understand the position around the world in relation to three pressing obligations:

  • Meetings - Whether board meetings and shareholders’ meetings may be remotely held
  • Annual accounts - Timeframe for approval and publication of annual accounts (if any)
  • Execution - How the resolutions of such meetings may be executed (“wet ink” or digital signatures)

We settled on these three obligations as we have seen that deciding how to meet these obligations presents organizations with the best opportunity to reimagine their approach to corporate governance. 

Download Global Corporate and Commercial Law Meeting and Digital Signature Guide

Download

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that, when it came to corporate reporting, in many jurisdictions the regulatory authorities were forced to make allowances for delays and provide alternatives to existing procedures. Our guide highlights the widespread adoption of remote working, videoconferencing and e-signature technology during the COVID-19 pandemic and notes where these measures remain in place (temporary extension) or have been permanently adopted.

We noted from our research that regulatory authorities around the world have now accepted that these innovative forms of corporate reporting are equally as valid as traditional practices.

 

This presents an opportunity for organizations to think carefully about what they wish to achieve from each board or shareholders’ meeting and the levels of transparency they wish to disclose in their reporting. Many organizations are experiencing increased scrutiny from stakeholders on a number of fronts – such as leadership, good governance, profitability – as we approach 2022.

 

While digital transformation provides a number of opportunities to increase resilience, we believe that transforming the legal and corporate secretarial functions should not be viewed primarily from a cost reduction perspective. As our guide shows, there is a great opportunity to reimagine how the organization treats adhering to corporate reporting deadlines as part of achieving its wider strategic goals.

Summary

EY’s latest global guide outlines the position on board and shareholders’ meetings, annual accounts and digital signatures in more than 65 jurisdictions, providing the starting point for reimagining corporate governance.

About this article

By Mike Fry

EY Global Entity Compliance & Governance Leader

Global leader focussed on developing an exceptional client experience through a managed services model that incorporates innovation, automation and analytics.

Related topics Law