1. Summary of Corporate Governance Standards.
2. Summary Comparison of Corporate Governance Standards and NYSE Listed Company Standards
3. Controls and Procedures
4. Code of Ethics
5. Board of Directors
6. Main Board Committees
8. Board Share Ownership
9. Related Party Transactions and Lending Limits
10. Memorandum and Articles of Association
11. Meetings and Voting Rights
13. Approval of Financial Statements
14. Registrations and Transfers
15. Dividend, Liquidation and Appraisal Rights
16. Ownership Restrictions
17. Preemptive Rights and Increases of Share Capital
Santander-Chile has adopted diverse measures to promote good corporate governance. Among the measures adopted are:
Santander-Chile has a commitment to transparency. This includes:
Our corporate governance standards, dictated by Chilean corporate law, differ from the standards followed by U.S. companies under the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listing standards in a number of ways. Consequently, you will not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all NYSE corporate governance requirements. The following is a non-exhaustive summary of a few key differences:
As more than 50% of our voting power is held by another company, Santander Spain, we would be permitted to elect for certain exemptions under NYSE corporate governance standards if we were a U.S. company. Specifically, as a U.S. company, we could elect to be exempted from the requirements (i) that we have a majority of independent directors (as defined by the NYSE), (ii) that we have a nominating/corporate governance committee meeting certain conditions, and (iii) that we have a compensation committee meeting certain requirements. Because we would not be required to follow these standards if we were a U.S. company, we have not summarized the differences, if any, between these provisions and our own corporate governance procedures.back to top
Conclusion Regarding the Effectiveness of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
As of December 31, 2017, the Bank, under the supervision and with the participation of the Bank’s management, including its Disclosure Committee, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and the Financial Controller, performed an evaluation of the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rule 13a-15(e) under the Exchange Act). There are, as described below, inherent limitations to the effectiveness of any control system, including disclosure controls and procedures. Accordingly, even effective disclosure controls and procedures can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving their control objectives.
Based on such evaluation, the Bank’s Disclosure Committee, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and the Financial Controller concluded that the Bank’s disclosure controls and procedures were effective in ensuring that information relating to the Bank, including its consolidated subsidiaries, required to be disclosed in the reports it files under the Exchange Act is (1) recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms, and (2) accumulated and communicated to the Bank’s management, including its Disclosure Committee and principal financial officers as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.
Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
The Bank’s management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Exchange Act. The Bank’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed by, or under the supervision of, the Bank’s principal executive and principal financial officers and effected by the Bank’s Board of Directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with IFRS-IASB and includes those policies and procedures that:
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting, no matter how well designed may not prevent or detect misstatements, due to the possibility that a control can be circumvented or overridden or that misstatements due to error or fraud may occur that are not detected. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
We have adapted our internal control over financial reporting to international standards and comply with the guidelines set by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission in its Internal Control―Integrated Framework (2013). The general framework assigns to management specific responsibilities regarding the structure and effectiveness of the processes related directly and indirectly with the production of consolidated financial statements, as well as the controls needed to mitigate the risks inherent in these processes.
Under the supervision and with the participation of the Bank’s management, including the Disclosure Committee, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and the Financial Controller, we conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting based on the criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”).
Based on this assessment, our management concluded that, as of December 31, 2017, our internal control over financial reporting was effective based on those criteria.back to top
The Bank has adopted a code of ethics that is applicable to all of the Bank’s employees and a copy is included as an exhibit hereto. We will provide to any person without charge, upon request, a copy of our code of ethics. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy. Our code of ethics is available on our website, which does not form part of this Annual Report on Form 20-F, at www.santander.cl under the heading “Información Corporativa”.
Code of Conduct (442 KB)back to top
The Board of Directors has 9 regular members and 2 alternate members, elected by shareholder vote at General Shareholders’ Meetings. The directors may be either shareholders or non-shareholders of the Company. There is no age limit for directors.
A director remains in office for three years and may be reelected indefinitely. If for any reason, the General Shareholders’ Meeting where the newly appointments of directors are to be made is not held, the duties of those serving as such shall be extended until their replacements are designated, in which case, the Board of Director shall convene a Meeting at the earliest possible time in order to effect the appointments.
The directors are entitled to compensation for the performance of their duties. The amount of their compensation is determined annually by the General Shareholders’ Meeting. In addition, payments in the form of wages, fees, travel accounts, expense accounts, dues as representatives of the Board of Directors and other cash payments, payments in kind or royalties of any sort whatsoever, may be paid to certain directors for the performance of specific duties or tasks in addition to their functions as directors imposed upon them specifically by the General Shareholders’ Meeting. Any special compensation is authorized or approved at the General Shareholders’ Meeting, and for that purpose, a detailed and separate entry shall be made in the Annual Report, which shall expressly indicate the complete name of each of the directors receiving special compensation.
Without prejudice to any other incapacity or incompatibility established by law, the following may not be directors: (a) those persons who have been sentenced or are being tried, either as principals or accessories, for crimes punishable with a penalty of temporary or permanent suspension from or incapacity to hold public office; (b) those persons who have been declared bankrupt and have not been rehabilitated; (c) members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; (d) directors or employees of any other financial institution; employees appointed by the President of the Republic and employees or officers of (i) the State, (ii) any public service, public institution, semi-public institution, autonomous entity or state-controlled company (any such entity a “Public Entity”) or (iii) any enterprise, corporation or public or private entity in which the State or a Public Entity has a majority interest, has made capital contributions, or is represented or participating, provided that persons holding positions in teaching activities in any of the above entities may be directors; and (f) the Bank’s employees, which shall not prevent a director from holding on a temporary basis and for a term not to exceed ninety days the position of General Manager. Chief Executive Officers may not be elected as directors.
For purposes of the appointment of directors, each shareholder shall have the right to one vote per share for purposes of appointing a single person, or to distribute his votes in between candidates as he may deem convenient, and the persons obtaining the largest number of votes in the same and single process shall be awarded positions, until all positions have been filled. The election of the regular and alternate board members shall be carried out separately. For purposes of the casting of the vote, the Chairman and the Secretary, together with any other persons that may have been previously designated by the Meeting to sign the minutes thereof, shall issue a certificate giving evidence of the oral votes of shareholders attending, following the order of the list of attendance being taken.
Each shareholder shall be entitled, however, to cast his vote by means of a ballot signed by him, stating whether he signs for his own account or as a representative. This entitlement notwithstanding, in order to expedite the voting process, the Chairman of the Bank or the Superintendency, as the case may be, is entitled to order that the vote be taken alternatively or by oral vote or by means of ballots. At the time of polling, the Chairman may instruct that the votes be read aloud, in order for those in attendance to count for themselves the number of votes issued and verify the outcome of the voting process.
The Secretary tabulates the votes and the Chairman announces those who have obtained the largest majorities until all the director positions have been filled. The Secretary places the documents evidencing the outcome of the count, duly signed by the persons charged with the duty of verifying the number of votes issued, together with the ballots delivered by the shareholders who did not vote orally, in an envelope which shall be closed and sealed with the corporate seal and shall remain deposited with the Bank for a least two years.
Every appointment of directors, or any changes in the appointment of directors, shall be transcribed into a public deed before a notary public, published in a newspaper of Santiago and notified to the SBIF and Financial Institutions, by means of the filing of a copy of the respective public deed. Likewise, the appointments of General Manager, Manager and Deputy Managers shall be communicated and transcribed into a public deed.
If a director ceases to be able to perform his or her duties, whether by reason of conflict of interest, limitation, legal incapacity or bankruptcy, impossibility, resignation or any other legal cause, the vacancy shall be filled as follows: (a) the positions of regular directors shall be filled by an alternate director; and (b) the positions of alternate directors vacated upon the application of (a) above, and the positions of regular directors if a regular director’s position cannot be filled pursuant to clause (a) because both alternate members have already become regular members, shall be filled by the Board of Directors on its first meeting after the vacancy occurs. Board members appointed pursuant to clause (b) will remain in the position until the next General Shareholders’ Meeting, where the appointment may be ratified, in which case, the replacement director will remain in his or her position until the expiration of the term of the director he or she replaced.
The alternate directors may temporarily replace regular directors in case of their absence or temporary inability to attend a board meeting, or in a definitive manner in case of vacancy. The alternate board members are always entitled to attend and speak at board meetings. They will be entitled to vote at such meetings only when a regular member is absent and such alternate member acts as the absent member’s replacement.
During the first meeting following the General Shareholders’ Meeting, the Board of Directors shall elect in separate votes from among its members, a Chairman, a First Vice Chairman and a Second Vice Chairman. In the event of a tie, the appointment shall be decided by lottery.
The Board of Directors meet, in ordinary sessions at least once a month, held on pre-set dates and times determined by the Board. Extraordinary meetings are held whenever called by the Chairman, whether at his own will or upon the request of three or more directors, so long as the Chairman determines in advance that the meeting is justified, except if the request is made by the absolute majority of the directors in office, in which case the meeting shall be held without such prior determination. The extraordinary meetings may only address those matters specifically included in the agenda for the extraordinary meeting, except that, if the meeting is attended by all the directors in office, they may agree otherwise by a unanimous vote. Extraordinary meetings shall be called by means of a written instrument signed by the Chairman or the Secretary or his alternate and delivered to each of the directors at least three days prior to the date set for the meeting.
The quorum for the Board of Directors’ Meeting is six of its members. Resolutions shall be adopted by the affirmative vote of the absolute majority of the attending directors. In the event of a tie, the person acting as the Chairman of the meeting shall cast a deciding vote.
Directors having a vested interest in a negotiation, act, contract or transaction that is not related to the bank business, either as principal or as representative of another person, shall communicate such fact to the other directors. If the respective resolutions are approved by the Board, it shall be in accordance to the prevailing fair market conditions and director’s interest must be disclosed at the next General Shareholders’ Meeting.
The discussions and resolutions of the Board of Directors shall be recorded in a special book of minutes maintained by the Secretary. The relevant minutes shall be signed by the directors attending the meeting and by the Secretary, or his alternate. If a director determines that the minutes for a meeting are inaccurate or incomplete, he is entitled to record an objection before actually signing the minutes. The resolutions adopted may be carried out prior to the approval of the minutes at a subsequent meeting. In the event of death, refusal or incapacity for any reason of any of the directors attending to sign the minutes, such circumstance shall be recorded at the end of the minutes stating the reason for the impediment.
The directors are personally liable for all of the acts they effect in the performance of their duties. Any director who wishes to disclaim responsibility for any act or resolution of the Board of Directors must to record his opposition in the minutes, and the Chairman must report the opposition at the following General Shareholders’ Meeting.
The Board of Directors will represent the Bank in and out of court and, for the performance of the Bank’s business, a circumstance that will not be necessary to prove before third parties, it will be empowered with all the authorities and powers of administration that the law or the by-laws do not set as exclusive to the General Shareholders’ Meeting, without being necessary to grant any special power of attorney, even for those acts that the law requires to do so. This provision is notwithstanding the judicial representation of the Bank that is part of the General Manager’s authorities. The Board of Directors may delegate part of its authority to the General Manager, to the Managers, Deputy Managers or Attorneys of the Bank, a Director, a Commission of Directors, and for specifically determined purposes, in other persons.back to top
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Félix de Vicente||Member and Financial Expert|
The Audit Committee (Comité de Directores y Auditoría) is comprised of three members of the Board of Directors and the Committee Secretary is Juan Pedro Santa María. The Chief Executive Officer, General Auditor and other persons from the Bank can be invited to the meetings if necessary and are present on specific matters. This Committee’s primary responsibility is to support the Board of Directors in the continuous improvement of our system of internal controls, which includes reviewing the work of both the independent registered public accounting firm and the Internal Audit Department. The committee is also responsible for analyzing observations made by regulatory entities of the Chilean financial system about us and for recommending measures to be taken by our management in response. The external auditors are recommended by this committee to our Board of Directors and appointed by our shareholders at the annual shareholders’ meeting.
This committee is also responsible for:
Asset and Liability Committee (ALCO)
The ALCO includes the President of the Board and three additional members of the Board, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Corporate Financial Controller, the Manager of the Financial Management Division, the Manager of Market Risk, the Manager of the Treasury Division, and other senior members of management. The ALCO meets monthly. All limits reviewed by the ALCO are measured and prepared by the Market Risk Department. The non-Board members of the ALCO meet weekly to review liquidity, funding, capital and market risk related matters.
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Oscar von Chrismar||Member|
|Féliz ed Vicente||Member|
The main functions of the ALCO are:
The Market Committee includes three members of the Board, the Chief Executive Officer, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Global Corporate Banking, the Chief Financial Officer, the Manager of the Treasury Division, the Manager of the Financial Management Division, the Manager of Market Risk, the Financial Controller and other senior members of management.
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Oscar von Chrismar||Chairman|
1. Roberto Méndez resigned as Director on March 27, 2018 and this position has yet to be assigned.
The Market Committee is responsible for:
Integral Risk Committee
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Oscar von Chrismar||Member|
|Lucía Santa Cruz||Member|
|Juan Pedro Santa María||Member|
The Risk Committee is responsible for reviewing and monitoring all risks that may affect us, including reputational risk, allowing for integral risk management. This committee serves as the governing body through which the Board supervises risk in general. It also evaluates the reasonability of the systems for measurement and control of risks.
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Lucía Santa Cruz||Member|
1. Roberto Méndez resigned as Director on March 27, 2018 and this position has yet to be assigned.
The Strategy Committee is in charge of our strategic planning process and follow-up, as well as the identification of broad business opportunities and threats. The Strategy Committee is comprised of the President of the Board and three additional Board members.
Analysis and Resolution Committee
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Juan Pedro Santa María||Chairman|
|Lucía Santa Cruz||Member|
This Committee defines and controls the policies regarding anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism in line with Chilean law and Grupo Santander’s governance. In addition to Mr. Santa María, members of senior management from the legal, risk and compliance departments, among others, are also a part of this committee.
Human Resources Committee
|Board member||Position in Committee|
|Félix de Vicente||Chairman|
The Human Resources Committee is comprised of three Board members, the Chief Executive Officer, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Human Resources and other senior managers. The Human Resources Committee dictates guidelines on management and general human resources policies, including incentive, selection, promotion and training policies.back to top
For the year ended December 31, 2017, the aggregate amount of compensation paid by us to all of our directors, executive officers and management members was Ch$43,866 million (U.S.$71.1 million). For the year ended December 31, 2017, the aggregate amount of compensation paid by us to all of our directors was Ch$1,199 million (U.S.$1.9 million), in monthly stipends. At our annual shareholder meeting held on April 26, 2017, shareholders were asked to approve a monthly stipend per director of UF 250 (U.S.$10,890), UF 500 (U.S.$21,779) for the Chairman of the Board and UF 375 (U.S.$16,334) for the Vice-Chairman of the Board. This amount will be increased by UF 30 per month (U.S.$1,307) if a Board member is named to one or more committees of the Board. The additional amount will be UF 60 (U.S.$2,614) for the President of a committee. Shareholders were also asked to approve the Audit Committee 2016 remuneration for its members. The remuneration is a 33% additional compensation over the monthly stipend received by a regular board member, or UF 83 (U.S.$3,594), totaling a monthly stipend of UF 333 (U.S.$14,483). This remuneration is in line with Chilean corporate governance law. In addition, we pay certain directors professional service fees for the consulting services that they render to us in their fields of expertise. For the year ended December 31, 2017, payments to our directors for consulting fees totaled Ch$370 million (U.S.$600 thousand).
The Bank has an additional benefit available to its principal executives, consisting of a pension plan. The purpose of the pension plan is to endow the executives with funds for a better supplementary pension upon their retirement. For this purpose, the Bank will match the voluntary contributions made by the beneficiaries for their future pensions with an equivalent contribution. The executives will be entitled to receive this benefit only when they fulfill the following conditions:
a. Aimed at the Bank’s management.
b. The general requisite to apply for this benefit is that the employee must be carrying out his/her duties when turning 60 years old.
c. The Bank will create a pension fund, with life insurance, for each beneficiary in the plan. Periodic contributions into this fund are made by the manager and matched by the Bank.
d. The Bank will be responsible for granting the benefits directly.
If the working relationship between the manager and the respective company ends, before s/he fulfills the abovementioned requirements, s/he will have no rights under this benefit plan. In the event of the executive’s death or total or partial disability, s/he will be entitled to receive this benefit. The Bank will make contributions to this benefit plan on the basis of mixed collective insurance policies whose beneficiary is the Bank. The life insurance company with whom such policies are executed is not an entity linked or related to the Bank or any other Santander Group company Plan Assets owned by the Bank at the end of 2017 totaled Ch$7,919 million (Ch$6,612 million in 2016).
No director or executive officer owns more than 1% of the shares of Santander-Chile as of December 31, 2017. Santander-Chile currently does not have any arrangements for involving employees in its capital and there is no systematic arrangement for grant of options or shares or securities of Santander-Chile to them. In accordance with IFRS 2, equity instruments settled in cash are allocated to executives of the Bank and its Subsidiaries as a form of compensation for their services.back to top
The Chilean Companies Law requires that our transactions with related parties be on a market basis, that is, on similar terms to those customarily prevailing in the market. We are required to compare the terms of any such transaction to those prevailing in the market at the date the transaction is to be entered into. Directors of companies that violate this provision are liable for losses resulting from such violations.
In addition, under the Chilean Companies Law, a company may not enter into a transaction with related parties unless (i) such transaction has received the prior approval of the company’s Board of Directors and (ii) the terms of such transaction are consistent with the terms of transactions of a similar type prevailing in the market. If it is not possible to make this determination, the board may appoint two independent evaluators. The evaluators’ final conclusions must be made available to shareholders and directors for a period of 20 business days, during which shareholders representing 5% or more of the issued voting shares may request the board to call a shareholders’ meeting to resolve the matter, with the agreement of two thirds of the issued voting shares required for approval. For purposes of this regulation, the law considers the amount of a proposed transaction to be material if (1) it exceeds 1% of the company’s net worth (provided that it also exceeds 20,000UF) or (2) it exceeds 20,000 UF.
All resolutions approving such transactions must be reported to the company’s shareholders at the next annual shareholders’ meeting. Violations of this provision may result in administrative or civil liability to the corporation, the shareholders and/or third parties who suffer losses as a result of such violation.
Loans granted to related parties
In addition to subsidiaries and associated entities, the Bank’s “related parties” include the “key personnel” of the Bank’s executive staff (members of the Bank’s Board of Directors and the Senior Managers of Santander-Chile and its subsidiaries, together with their close relatives), as well as the entities over which the key personnel could exert significant influence or control.The Bank also considers the companies that are part of the Santander Group worldwide as related parties, given that all of them have a common parent, i.e., Santander Spain. For more information, see “Note 34—Transactions with Related Parties” in our Audited Consolidated Financial Statements.
Under the Chilean General Banking Law, Chilean banks are subject to certain lending limits, including the following:
We are not aware of any loans to any related parties exceeding the above lending limits.
The largest related party loan, which matures on July 30, 2018 and has an annual rate of U.S.$ + 0.0%, by the Bank is to Banco Santander Spain S.A., corresponds to a performance bond (boleta de garantía) and had an amount outstanding of U.S.$28 million, which was guaranteeing a corporate foreign trade loan. As this operation is a contingent loan, the Bank charges a fee which was 0.25% per quarter.back to top
The legal predecessor of Santander-Chile was Banco Santiago (Santiago). Santiago was incorporated by public deed dated September 7, 1977 granted at the Notary Office of Alfredo Astaburuaga Gálvez. Santiago received its permission to incorporate and function as a bank by Resolution No. 118 of the SBIF on October 27, 1977. The Bank’s by-laws were approved by Resolution No. 103 of the SBIF on September 22, 1977. In January 1997, Santiago merged with Banco O’Higgins’ with Santiago as the surviving entity. In 1999, Santiago became a controlled subsidiary of Santander Spain.
On May 24, 2007, we changed our by-laws as our official name to Banco Santander-Chile (formerly: Banco Santander Chile) and that the Bank may also use the following names: Banco Santander Santiago, Santander Santiago, Banco Santander, or Santander (formerly only: Banco Santander Santiago and Santander Santiago).
Shareholder rights in a Chilean bank that is also an open stock (public) corporation are governed by (1) the corporation’s estatutos, which effectively serve the purpose of both the articles or certificate of incorporation and the by-laws of a company incorporated in the United States, (2) the General Banking Law and (3) to the extent not inconsistent with the General Banking Law, by the provisions of Chilean Companies Law applicable to open stock corporations, except for certain provisions that are expressly excluded. Article 137 of the Chilean Companies Law provides that all provisions of the Chilean Companies Law take precedence over any contrary provision in a corporation’s estatutos. Both the Chilean Companies Law and our estatutos provide that legal actions by shareholders against us (or our officers or directors) to enforce their rights as shareholders or by one shareholder against another in their capacity as such are to be brought in Chile in arbitration proceedings, notwithstanding the plaintiff’s right to submit the action to the ordinary courts of Chile.
The Chilean securities markets are principally regulated by the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance under the Chilean Securities Market Law and the Chilean Companies Law. In the case of banks, compliance with these laws is supervised by the SBIF. These two laws provide for disclosure requirements, restrictions on insider trading and price manipulation and protection of non-controlling investors. The Chilean Securities Market Law sets forth requirements relating to public offerings, stock exchanges and brokers, and outlines disclosure requirements for companies that issue publicly offered securities. The Chilean Companies Law sets forth the rules and requirements for establishing open stock corporations while eliminating government supervision of closed (closely-held) corporations. Open stock (public) corporations are those with 500 or more shareholders, or companies in which 100 or more shareholders own at least 10.0% of the subscribed capital (excluding those whose individual holdings exceed 10.0%), and all other companies that are registered in the Securities Registry of the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance.
Santander-Chile is a bank providing a broad range of commercial and retail banking services, as well as a variety of financial services. Our objects and purposes can be found in Article 4 of our estatutos.back to top
An ordinary annual meeting of shareholders is held within the first four months of each year. The ordinary annual meeting of shareholders is the corporate body that approves the annual financial statements, approves all dividends in accordance with the dividend policy determined by our Board of Directors, elects the Board of Directors and approves any other matter that does not require an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting. The last ordinary annual meeting of our shareholders was held on April 29, 2013. Extraordinary meetings may be called by our Board of Directors when deemed appropriate, and ordinary or extraordinary meetings must be called by our Board of Directors when requested by shareholders representing at least 10.0% of the issued voting shares or by the SBIF. Notice to convene the ordinary annual meeting or an extraordinary meeting is given by means of three notices which must be published in a newspaper of our corporate domicile (currently Santiago) or in the Official Gazette in a prescribed manner, and the first notice must be published not less than 15 days nor more than 20 days in advance of the scheduled meeting. Notice must also be mailed 15 days in advance to each shareholder and given to the SBIF and the Chilean Stock Exchanges. Currently, we publish our official notices in the El Mercurio newspaper of Santiago.
The quorum for a shareholders’ meeting is established by the presence, in person or by proxy, of shareholders representing at least an absolute majority of the issued shares. If a quorum is not present at the first meeting, the meeting can be reconvened (in accordance with the procedures described in the previous paragraph) and, upon the meeting being reconvened, shareholders present at the reconvened meeting are deemed to constitute a quorum regardless of the percentage of the shares represented. The shareholders’ meetings pass resolutions by the affirmative vote of an absolute majority of those voting shares present or represented at the meeting. The vote required at any shareholders’ meeting to approve any of the following actions, however, is a two-thirds majority of the issued shares:
Shareholders may accumulate their votes for the election of directors and cast all of their votes in favor of one person.
In general, Chilean law does not require a Chilean open stock corporation to provide the level and type of information that U.S. securities laws require a reporting company to provide to its shareholders in connection with a solicitation of proxies. However, shareholders are entitled to examine the books of the bank within the 15-day period before the ordinary annual meeting. Under Chilean law, a notice of a shareholders’ meeting listing matters to be addressed at the meeting must be mailed not fewer than 15 days prior to the date of such meeting, and, in cases of an ordinary annual meeting, shareholders holding a prescribed minimum investment must be sent an Annual Report of the bank’s activities which includes audited financial statements. Shareholders who do not fall into this category but who request it must also be sent a copy of the bank’s Annual Report. In addition to these requirements, we regularly provide, and management currently intends to continue to provide, together with the notice of shareholders’ meeting, a proposal for the final annual dividend.
The Chilean Corporations Law provides that whenever shareholders representing 10.0% or more of the issued voting shares so request, a Chilean company’s Annual Report must include, in addition to the materials provided by the Board of Directors to shareholders, such shareholders’ comments and proposals in relation to the company’s affairs. Similarly, the Chilean Corporations Law provides that whenever the Board of Directors of an open stock corporation convenes an ordinary shareholders’ meeting and solicits proxies for that meeting, or distributes information supporting its decisions, or other similar material, it is obligated to include as an annex to its Annual Report any pertinent comments and proposals that may have been made by shareholders owning 10.0% or more of the company’s voting shares who have requested that such comments and proposals be so included.
Only shareholders registered as such with us on the fifth business day prior to the date of a meeting are entitled to attend and vote their shares. A shareholder may appoint another individual (who need not be a shareholder) as his proxy to attend and vote on his behalf. Every shareholder entitled to attend and vote at a shareholders’ meeting has one vote for every share subscribed. Each share represents one vote and there are no special classes of shares with different rights. Our by-laws do not include any condition that is more significant than required by law to change the right of shareholders.back to top
Under Chilean law, the shareholders of a company, acting at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, have the power to authorize an increase in such company’s capital. When an investor subscribes for issued shares, the shares are registered in such investor’s name, even if not paid for, and the investor is treated as a shareholder for all purposes except with regard to receipt of dividends and the return of capital, provided that the shareholders may, by amending the by-laws, also grant the right to receive dividends or distributions of capital. The investor becomes eligible to receive dividends and returns of capital once it has paid for the shares (if it has paid for only a portion of such shares, it is entitled to reserve a corresponding pro-rata portion of the dividends declared and/or returns of capital with respect to such shares unless the company’s by-laws provide otherwise). If an investor does not pay for shares for which it has subscribed on or prior to the date agreed upon for payment, the company is entitled under Chilean law to auction the shares on the stock exchange and collect the difference, if any, between the subscription price and the auction proceeds. However, until such shares are sold at auction, the subscriber continues to exercise all the rights of a shareholder (except the right to receive dividends and return of capital).
Article 22 of the Chilean Corporations Law states that the purchaser of shares of a company implicitly accepts its by-laws and any agreements adopted at shareholders’ meetings.back to top
Our Board of Directors is required to submit our audited financial statements to the shareholders annually for their approval. The approval or rejection of such financial statements is entirely within our shareholders’ discretion. If our shareholders reject our financial statements, our Board of Directors must submit new financial statements not later than 60 days from the date of such rejection. If our shareholders reject our new financial statements, our entire Board of Directors is deemed removed from office and a new Board of Directors is elected at the same meeting. Directors who individually approved such rejected financial statements are disqualified for re-election for the ensuing period.back to top
We act as our own registrar and transfer agent, as is customary among Chilean companies. In the case of jointly owned shares, an attorney-in-fact must be appointed to represent the joint owners in dealings with us.back to top
Under the Chilean Corporations Law, Chilean companies are generally required to distribute at least 30.0% of their earnings as dividends.
In the event of any loss of capital, no dividends can be distributed so long as such loss is not recovered. Also, no dividends of a bank above the legal minimum can be distributed if doing so would result in the bank exceeding its ratio of risk-weighted assets to regulatory capital or total assets.
Dividends that are declared but not paid by the date set for payment at the time of declaration are adjusted from the date set for payment to the date such dividends are actually paid, and they accrue interest.
We may declare a dividend in cash or in shares. When a share dividend is declared above the legal minimum (which minimum must be paid in cash), our shareholders must be given the option to elect to receive cash. Our ADS holders may, in the absence of an effective registration statement under the Securities Act or an available exemption from the registration requirement thereunder, effectively be required to receive a dividend in cash. A dividend entitlement lapses after 5 years and the funds go to the Chilean Treasury.
In the event of our liquidation, the holders of fully paid shares would participate equally and pro rata, in proportion to the number of paid-in shares held by them, in the assets available after payment of all creditors. The holders of fully paid shares would not be required to contribute additional capital to the Bank in the event of our liquidation.
In accordance with the General Banking Law, our shareholders do not have appraisal rights.
Under Article 12 of the Chilean Securities Market Law and the regulations of the SBIF, shareholders of open stock corporations are required to report the following to the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance and the Chilean Stock Exchanges:
In addition, majority shareholders must include in their report whether their purpose is to acquire control of the company or if they are making a financial investment. A beneficial owner of ADSs representing 10.0% or more of our share capital will be subject to these reporting requirements under Chilean law.
Under Article 54 of the Chilean Securities Market Law and the regulations of the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance, persons or entities intending to acquire control, directly or indirectly, of an open stock corporation, regardless of the acquisition vehicle or procedure, and including acquisitions made through direct subscriptions or private transactions, are also required to inform the public of such acquisition at least 10 business days before the date on which the transaction is to be completed, but in any case, as soon as negotiations regarding the change of control begin (i.e., when information and documents concerning the target are delivered to the potential acquiror) through a filing with the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance, the stock exchanges and the companies controlled by and that control the target and through a notice published in two Chilean newspapers, which notice must disclose, among other information, the person or entity purchasing or selling and the price and conditions of any negotiations.
Prior to such publication, a written communication to such effect must be sent to the target corporation, to the controlling corporation, to the corporations controlled by the target corporation, to the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance, and to the Chilean stock exchanges on which the securities are listed.
In addition to the foregoing, Article 54A of the Chilean Securities Market Law requires that within two business days of the completion of the transactions pursuant to which a person has acquired control of a publicly traded company, a notice shall be published in the same newspapers in which the notice referred to above was published and notices shall be sent to the same persons mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.
The provisions of the aforementioned articles do not apply whenever the acquisition is being made through a tender or exchange offer.
Title XXV of the Chilean Securities Market Law on tender offers and the regulations of the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance provide that the following transactions must be carried out through a tender offer:
In addition, Article 69bis of the Companies Law requires that whenever a controlling shareholder acquires two thirds of the voting shares of a listed company, such controlling shareholder must offer to purchase the remaining shares from the non-controlling shareholders in a tender offer.
Article 200 of the Chilean Securities Market Law prohibits any shareholder that has taken control of a publicly traded company to acquire, for a period of 12 months from the date of the transaction in which it gained control of the publicly traded company, a number of shares equal to or greater than 3.0% of the outstanding issued shares of the target without making a tender offer at a price per share not lower than the price paid at the time of taking control. Should the acquisition from the other shareholders of the company be made on a stock exchange and on a pro rata basis, the controlling shareholder may purchase a higher percentage of shares, if so permitted by the regulations of the stock exchange.
Title XV of the Chilean Securities Market Law sets forth the basis to determine what constitutes a controlling power, a direct holding and a related party. The Chilean Securities Market Law defines control as the power of a person or group of persons acting (either directly or through other entities or persons) pursuant to a joint action agreement, to direct the majority of the votes at the shareholders’ meetings of the corporation, to elect the majority of members of its Board of Directors, or to influence the management of the corporation significantly. Significant influence is deemed to exist in respect of the person or group of persons with an agreement to act jointly that holds, directly or indirectly, at least 25.0% of the voting share capital, unless:
According to the Chilean Securities Market Law, a joint action agreement is an agreement among two or more parties which, directly or indirectly, own shares in a corporation at the same time and whereby they agree to participate with the same interest in the management of the corporation or in taking control of the same. The law presumes that such an agreement exists between:
Likewise, the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance may determine that a joint action agreement exists between two or more entities considering, among other things, the number of companies in which they participate and the frequency with which they vote identically in the election of directors, appointment of managers and other resolutions passed at extraordinary shareholders’ meetings.
According to Article 96 of the Chilean Securities Market Law, a business group is a group of entities with such ties in their ownership, management or credit liabilities that it may be assumed that the economic and financial action of such members is directed by, or subordinated to, the joint interests of the group, or that there are common credit risks in the credits granted to, or in the acquisition of securities issued by, them. According to the Chilean Securities Market Law, the following entities are part of the same business group:
Article 36 of the General Banking Law states that as a matter of public policy, no person or company may acquire, directly or indirectly, more than 10.0% of the shares of a bank without the prior authorization of the SBIF, which may not be unreasonably withheld. The prohibition would also apply to beneficial owners of ADSs. In the absence of such authorization, any person or group of persons acting in concert would not be permitted to exercise voting rights with respect to the shares or ADSs acquired. In determining whether or not to issue such an authorization, the SBIF considers a number of factors enumerated in the General Banking Law, including the financial stability of the purchasing party.
According to Article 35bis of the General Banking Law, the prior authorization of the SBIF is required for:
This prior authorization is only required when the acquiring bank or the resulting group of banks would own a significant market share in loans, defined by the SBIF to be more than 15.0% of all loans in the Chilean banking system. The intended purchase, merger or expansion may be denied by the SBIF; or, if the acquiring bank or resulting group would own a market share in loans determined to be more than 20.0% of all loans in the Chilean banking system, the purchase, merger, or expansion may be conditioned on one or more of the following:
If the acquiring bank or resulting group would own a market share in loans determined by the SBIF to be more than 15% but less than 20%, the authorization will be conditioned on the bank or banks maintaining a regulatory capital not lower than 10% of their risks weighted assets for the period specified by the SBIF, which may not be less than one year. The calculation of the risk weighted assets is based on a five category risk classification system applied to a bank’s assets that is based on the Basel Committee recommendations.
According to the General Banking Law, a bank may not grant loans to related parties on terms more favorable than those generally offered to non-related parties. Article 84 No. 2 of the General Banking Law and the regulations issued by the SBIF creates the presumption that natural persons who are holders of shares and who beneficially own more than 1.0% of the shares are related to the bank and imposes certain restrictions on the amounts and terms of loans made by banks to related parties. This presumption would also apply to beneficial owners of ADSs representing more than 1.0% of the shares. Finally, according to the regulations of the SBIF, Chilean banks that issue ADSs are required to inform the SBIF if any person, directly or indirectly, acquires ADSs representing 5.0% or more of the total amount of shares of capital stock issued by such bank.
Article 16bis of the General Banking Law provides that the individuals or legal entities that, individually or with other people, directly control a bank and who individually own more than 10.0% of its shares must send to the SBIF reliable information on their financial situation in the form and in the opportunity set forth in Resolution No. 3,156 of the SBIF.
There are no limitations for non-resident or foreign shareholders to hold or exercise voting rights on the securities.
The Chilean Corporations Law provides that whenever a Chilean company issues new shares for cash, it must offer its existing shareholders the right to purchase a number of shares sufficient to maintain their existing ownership percentages in the company. Pursuant to this requirement, preemptive rights in connection with any future issue of shares will be offered by us to the Depositary as the registered owner of the shares underlying the ADRs. However, the Depositary will not be able to make such preemptive rights available to holders of ADSs unless a registration statement under the Securities Act is effective with respect to the underlying shares or an exemption from the registration requirements thereunder is available.
We intend to evaluate, at the time of any preemptive rights offering, the practicality under Chilean law and Central Bank regulations in effect at the time of making such rights available to our ADS holders, as well as the costs and potential liabilities associated with registration of such rights and the related shares of common stock under the Securities Act, and the indirect benefits to us of thereby enabling the exercise by all or certain holders of ADSs of their preemptive rights and any other factors we consider appropriate at the time, and then to make a decision as to whether to file such registration statement. We cannot assure you that any registration statement would be filed. If we do not file a registration statement and no exemption from the registration requirements under the Securities Act is available, the Depositary will sell such holders’ preemptive rights and distribute the proceeds thereof if a premium can be recognized over the cost of such sale. In the event that the Depositary is not able, or determines that it is not feasible, to sell such rights at a premium over the cost of any such sale, all or certain holders of ADSs may receive no value for such rights. Non-U.S. holders of ADSs may be able to exercise their preemptive rights regardless of whether a registration statement is filed. The inability of all or certain holders of ADSs to exercise preemptive rights in respect of shares of common stock underlying such ADSs could result in such holders not maintaining their percentage ownership of the common stock following such preemptive rights offering unless such holder made additional market purchases of ADSs or shares of common stock.
Under Chilean law, preemptive rights are exercisable or freely transferable by shareholders during a period that cannot be less than 30 days following the grant of such rights. During such period, and for an additional 30-day period thereafter, a Chilean corporation is not permitted to offer any unsubscribed shares for sale to third parties on terms which are more favorable than those offered to its shareholders. At the end of such additional 30-day period, a Chilean open stock corporation is authorized to sell unsubscribed shares to third parties on any terms, provided they are sold on a Chilean stock exchange. Unsubscribed shares that are not sold on a Chilean stock exchange can be sold to third parties only on terms no more favorable for the purchaser than those offered to shareholders.back to top