SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- More listed firms are expected to adopt electronic voting at shareholder meetings this year to make it easier to reach a quorum, corporate officials said Thursday.
According to the Korea Securities Depository (KSD), 1,204 companies listed on the main and secondary bourses, or 57 percent of the total, had signed on to use e-voting as of the end of last year.
E-voting has become an important means for the firms to secure the needed quorum at shareholder meetings after "shadow voting" was abolished in late 2017. In shadow voting, the KSD acted on behalf of minor shareholders who transferred their voting rights to the agency. The practice made it easier for companies to fulfill the number of attending stakeholders required to vote on important management decisions.
More firms have been opting for e-voting, from 417 in 2015 to 732 in 2016 and 1,103 in 2017.
The number of companies that actually use e-voting, however, may be much smaller, according to the officials. In case of last year, only 758 firms, or 29 percent, that had signed on actually adopted it at their shareholder meetings
Reaching quorums has been a difficult task for some companies. Two firms on the main KOSPI market were unable to appoint auditors, and 71 companies on the secondary KOSDAQ market failed at approving management decisions last year.
E-voting may get a boost from a free-of-charge service to be launched by local securities company Mirae Asset Daewoo. Mirae is due to open Platform V for Internet voting on Friday for use by companies. KSD charges 1 million won (US$890) to 5 million won, depending on the size of the firms, as registration fees for e-voting.