Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., J.P. Morgan, Northern Trust and Banco Santander have announced the successful completion of a pilot which employs a blockchain technology to enhance global proxy vote transparency and analytics.
As Broadridge’s first application of blockchain technology, the pilot provides transparency by adapting distributed ledger technology capabilities to provide daily insight into vote progress throughout the issuer’s proxy voting period, from meeting announcement date to the annual general meeting. The application ensures role-based access to voting data through use of cryptography and smart contract technology and is built on an Ethereum blockchain platform.
Vijay Mayadas, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Strategy at Broadridge, stated: “This pilot demonstrates Broadridge’s commitment to developing innovative technology solutions to enhance transparency in the global proxy voting process for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders, ultimately improving corporate governance for all. We believe blockchain will drive increased quality and efficiency in the voting chain by reducing complexity that exists within the process today,” he added.
Global Head of Custody at J.P. Morgan, Chris Rowland stated: “We are pleased to partner with Broadridge in undertaking this innovative endeavour as we explore the use of blockchain to drive efficiencies across the custody space,”
Justin Chapman, Global Head of Market Advocacy and Innovation Research at Northern Trust, commented: “Corporate Governance is a key focus for our custody clients and we are pleased to collaborate with Broadridge on this important initiative. Providing end-to-end vote transparency using blockchain as an enabler has the potential to significantly improve the proxy voting process.”
The head of the Blockchain Lab at Banco Santander, Julio Faura said: “After piloting this blockchain-based platform with Broadridge, we see that proxy voting makes an interesting case where distributed ledgers and smart contracts can add transparency and efficiency to financial services, to the benefit of our corporate and institutional clients.”
The pilot was run in support of a corporate issuer’s annual general meeting and included participation of Santander Investment, the issuer’s agent. The pilot was run in parallel of the AGM, with the blockchain being utilized to produce a ‘shadow’ digital register of the proxy voting taking place in the traditional model.