PETALING JAYA, April 20 – According to leading professional services firm KPMG in Malaysia, high dependence on technology tools and solutions will continue to characterize the approaches public listed companies (PLCs) use to engage with their shareholders. This fact remains even as Malaysia now transitions towards the endemic phase, which came into effect early this month.

The demand for modern technology solutions comes directly from the shareholders themselves; a survey by the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC) found at least 74 percent of shareholders indicated their preference of a remote option for general meetings even after social distancing is no longer mandatory.

“With health and safety an ongoing concern, it would be remiss for listed companies not to consider permanently incorporating virtual or hybrid AGMs as part of their corporate governance strategy. Progressive companies that have done so attest to have experienced a ‘turbocharge’ of shareholder participation among the other benefits when hosting virtual AGMs,” noted Kasturi Nathan, Head of Board Advisory Services at KPMG in Malaysia.

The sharp pivot towards virtual AGMs became a necessity at the height of the pandemic containment measures in recent years, enabled by the regulatory guide provided in section 340(2) of the Companies Act 2016 and the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC)’s revise Guidance on Virtual Meetings of Listed Issuers². However, this sudden transition has not been without problems, typically caused by a lack of access to the right tools and unfamiliarity of the technology.

Anticipating the digitalization trend in general meetings, KPMG in Malaysia has formalized an alliance with Convene Malaysia (a subsidiary of Azeus Group) to enhance the AGM experience for listed companies and their shareholders. The alliance equips KPMG with exclusive rights to introduce the ConveneAGM technology into Malaysia, an all-in-one platform offering a seamless, secure and fully supported virtual and hybrid AGM experience.

CEO of Azeus Group, Michael Yap commented, “ConveneAGM is an open platform that can adapt to and accommodate virtual, physical, and hybrid meeting requirements. It can transform how traditional general meetings are carried out while ensuring compliance and preserving stakeholders’ rights. The platform is thoughtfully designed with two major things in mind 一 the best practices for conducting AGMs and the end-to-end experience of the shareholders.”

The platform’s market-differentiating features include allowing shareholders to submit questions via text and video, instant voting and voting in absentia can be enabled, simultaneous audio translation, latency-free webcasts, having reliable backup channels in the unlikely event of a glitch, ISO-certified security features and 24/7 support – features that bridge the divide for virtual/hybrid AGM participants.

Kasturi concluded, “By combining KPMG’s Board Advisory Services with Azeus’ established ConveneAGM technology, we aim to revolutionize the future of general meetings in Malaysia. PLCs will now have access to a full suite of modern-day technological solution that answers the rising call for a delicate balance between maximizing shareholder participation and safeguarding the sacrosanct principles of shareholder democratization.”