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Banking groups to hold shareholders meetings despite coronavirus scare

KB Financial Group`s shareholders meeting held in November 2017. (Yonhap)
KB Financial Group`s shareholders meeting held in November 2017. (Yonhap)
Even though the novel coronavirus outbreak is increasing “social distancing,” local banking groups are set to hold shareholders meetings as scheduled, but are also considering complementary measures to prevent infection.

KB, Hana, Woori and Shinhan have all asked participating shareholders to bring face masks and warned that they will prohibit attendees from entering the venues if thermal scanners detect high temperature.

KB’s shareholders meeting is scheduled to take place on March 20, but it has recommended shareholders to vote by mail and said it might change the meeting venue.

Hana is also offering the option of “shadow voting” a practice whereby companies can request shares registered with the Korean Securities Depository to vote in the same proportion as voters that are present at the actual meeting. The practice was officially banned in 2017, but Hana is seeking to find a similar alternative, its spokesperson said.

Shinhan has strongly requested its shareholders to use the electronic voting system. It plans to livestream the shareholders meeting on the group’s website as well.

Woori took the most conservative stance on the matter, notifying its shareholders that they are either required to “directly exercise their voting rights by attending the shareholders meeting or use proxy voters.”

The policymaking Financial Services Commission and other related government agencies announced last month to cut companies some slack in submitting documents related to shareholders meetings. Companies will not receive any sanctions if they fail to submit business reports by the deadline.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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