Lloyds plans ‘in person’ Edinburgh AGM amid deal talk

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) — owner of Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows and Halifax — said on Monday it “may be able to accommodate a limited number of shareholders in person” at its AGM which it will now hold at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on Thursday May 20, 2021, at 11am.

The AGM news came as news reports speculated that LBG is in “advanced talks” for a £400 million takeover of digital savings and retirement company Embark Group, which employs more than 600 people at locations across the UK including Edinburgh, Dundee, Leeds and London.

Embarks says it has £40 billion under administration and 415,000 individual clients across the UK.

Analysts said a deal for Embark could boost LBG’ retail investment offering and create a more effective IFA distribution channel for Scottish Widows mutual fund products.

“On 23 March 2021, we published our Notice of Meeting setting out the arrangements for Lloyds Banking Group plc’s Annual General Meeting (the ‘AGM’) in Edinburgh on Thursday 20 May 2021 at 11am,” said LBG.

The Scottish Government has now set out its revised framework for COVID-19 protection levels.

“It is expected, although not guaranteed, that Scotland will move to protection level 2 from 17 May 2021, which may allow some indoor events subject to attendance restrictions.

If the restrictions in Scotland move to protection level 2, we may be able to accommodate a limited number of shareholders in person at the AGM, subject to social distancing and other safety requirements.

“To allow for this possibility, the board has decided that the AGM will now be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, The Exchange, Edinburgh, EH3 8EE.

“The time and date of the AGM remain the same, i.e. Thursday 20 May 2021 at 11am. We plan to livestream the AGM on our website.

Further arrangements will be published on our website once it is clear what is permitted legally, which will not be known until nearer the time of the meeting.

“In deciding on the final arrangements, we will obviously prioritise the safety and security of our shareholders and colleagues and given likely restrictions on attendees, a pre-registration system may be necessary.

“We ask shareholders to understand and comply with the Scottish COVID-19 protection levels and any attendance restrictions that may be necessary.

“We would strongly suggest that shareholders do not finalise travel arrangements until any new arrangements are confirmed.

We are also holding a Shareholder Event on Thursday 13 May 2021 at 10am.

“This event will give shareholders the opportunity to join us virtually and we encourage shareholders to attend through our website: www.lloydsbankinggroup.com.

“Shareholders will see presentations and responses to shareholder questions from our chair and other board members.”