HSBC Holdings today told shareholders that they may not be able to attend the April 24 annual general meeting slated for London in the event that the UK decides bans large gatherings because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Some governments of countries where coronavirus has become widespread have taken action to prohibit the gathering of large groups of people or otherwise advised against large congregations of people in an attempt to minimize or delay the spread of the coronavirus, HSBC said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
While the UK has not yet banned big groups, “the situation may change rapidly,” said Europe’s largest bank, which considers the health of shareholders, employees and customers “of paramount importance.”
The bank recommends that investors, even if they plan to attend the meeting, submit proxies as soon as possible because the UK could slap restrictions on travel to London or how the meeting may wind up being conducted.
It encourages them to watch HSBC’s website for updates on the status of the AGM, which it called “an important event” on the corporate calendar.
“It provides the board of directors with an opportunity to engage with shareholders and for shareholders to agree resolutions that provide the Board with the ability to manage the business and affairs of the Company between AGMs,” said the statement from Aileen Taylor, group company secretary & chief governance officer.