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Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
The company watchdog has granted companies additional time to hold their annual general meetings due to restrictions imposed by ongoing coronavirus lockdowns.
All public companies with a financial year between February 21 and July 7 have an extra two months to hold their AGM, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said on Wednesday.
A public company limited by guarantee with reporting dates between January 24 and April 7 has an additional four months.
“ASIC has granted this extension to allow flexibility for companies preparing for the upcoming AGM season while restrictions on gathering and movement persist during the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement.
“Directors of eligible companies need to comply with their directors’ duties in deciding whether it is appropriate to rely on ASIC’s relief.”
Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, remain in lengthy lockdowns.
Meanwhile, ASIC, along with the banking and competition regulators, will face federal politicians on Friday.
The House of Representatives economic committee will investigate ASIC, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the implications of capital concentration and common ownership in Australia.
Common ownership is when institutional investors simultaneously own shares in competing firms, which can pose a risk to competition.
“Common ownership has implications for investors and competition,” committee chair and Liberal MP Tim Wilson said.
“We need to be sure we are empowering citizens as investors and customers, and not organised capital.”
The issue is part of a broader inquiry being conducted by the committee.
The committee will also take the opportunity to undertake its regular scrutiny of ASIC and APRA’s annual reports.
“When ASIC and APRA appeared before the committee earlier this year, we were keen to understand how they had responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the associated economic stimulus measures taken by government,’ Mr Wilson said.
“It is important that the Australian people have insight into the steps that our regulators are taking to promote resilience within the Australian economy during this time of uncertainty.”