Canada's biggest banks, insurers to hold annual meetings online as virus spreads

FILE PHOTO: The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) logo is seen outside of a branch in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canada’s largest banks and insurers said on Friday they would hold their annual meetings online, in a move to shelter shareholders and employees from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The “big six” Canadian lenders - Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, CIBC and National Bank of Canada - are participating in this initiative.

The companies had to obtain a court order as Canadian banks and insurers are not permitted to hold an electronic annual meeting without relief from a court, the statement said

“We have jointly obtained a court order that allows us to hold our annual meetings, in whole or in part, using electronic means,” a statement from the companies said.

Manulife and Sun Life, the country’s largest insurers, will also move their annual meetings online.

Smaller bank peers Canadian Western Bank, Laurentian Bank and insurers Great-West Lifeco, and Canada Life will also hold their annual meetings virtually.

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila