All companies listed on the local main board and the over-the-counter (OTC) market will be asked to adopt electronics-voting by 2018 in a bid to allow shareholders who are unable to attend annual general meetings in person to express their opinion, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Tuesday.
The FSC, the top financial regulator in Taiwan, said any listed company that fails to follow the new e-voting rules, will have its future fund raising plans rejected by the commission.
At present, only listed companies with paid-in capital of NT$2 billion (US$62 million) or more are required to adopt e-voting for shareholder meetings.
In 2015, a total of 604 listed firms used e-voting systems, including 491 firms for which it was mandatory. This year, the number will increase to 1,062, including 531 with paid-in capital of NT$2 billion or more.
Chang Chen-shan (???), deputy director of the FSC's Securities and Futures Bureau, said that e-voting will make shareholder meetings more efficient as it will enable all shareholders to vote simply by using an App, even if they cannot attend a meeting.
In addition, the move will ensure minority shareholders are better able to express their opinions, particularly if several of the companies they have a stake in hold shareholder meetings on the same day.
In addition to the FSC's threat to reject the fund raising plans of listed companies that fail to adopt e-voting, such firms could also face litigation in the form of minority shareholders filing lawsuits asking courts to vacate decisions made at shareholder meetings, the commission said.
As listed companies have to work with the government-sponsored Taiwan Depository and Clearing Corp. (TDCC, ????) to introduce e-voting, they should also pay the TDCC for the services provide, the FSC said.
According to the FSC, a company with paid-in capital of NT$2 billion or more will pay about NT$52,000 a year on average and a firm with less than NT$2 billion in paid-in capital will pay about NT$40,000 on average.
Meanwhile, the FSC said that financial holding companies, banks and bill finance firms will be asked to disclose dissenting opinions among directors and members of auditing committees in their annual reports.
The new rules are expected to take effect this year at the earliest and apply to the issuance of 2016 annual reports, in a bid to boost operational transparency, the FSC said.
Currently, only the conclusions reached at board meetings and auditing committees are disclosed in the annual reports released by financial firms.