Nasdaq will deliver a new blockchain solution to South African central securities depository (CSD) Strate that would bring electronic voting to the South African capital markets.
The solution will allow Strate, in conjunction with key stakeholders in the market, to provide general meeting services and give shareholders an easy, user-friendly and secure tool for voting remotely.
IT is based on the successful proof of concept (PoC) developed for Nasdaq’s Estonia market. In addition, Strate will contribute to the ongoing market development of e-Voting technology.
“We are very excited about our initiative with Nasdaq and what it means for the South African financial markets,” says Tanya Knowles, managing executive of Fractal Solutions, a division of Strate. “One needs to understand that the environment at the moment is very administratively intensive, which means there are many inefficiencies and risks associated with it. This is not ideal in today’s electronic age, as technology like blockchain can serve as a solution.
“The solution aims to service our clients’ needs across the market from transfer secretaries to issuers, custodians, asset managers and those holding shares in listed companies.
“Given that it is an end-to-end solution — from the time a meeting is announced and all the way through the voting process to the publishing of results — it means that all stakeholders will truly benefit within the process.”
Lars OttersgĂ„rd, executive vice-president and head of market technology at Nasdaq, adds: “A major indicator of progress in the capital markets is when technology not only bolsters performance, but also improves efficiency and transparency.
“By leveraging blockchain, we are able to reduce friction in the voting and proxy assignment process and also ensure that all information is transparent to stakeholders when required and with the proper security, governance and risk procedures in place.
“We are proud to welcome Strate and the South African capital markets to the Nasdaq family and to support their efforts in evolving their governance processes through new technological innovation.”
Benefits of the new system to shareholders, issuers and proxies include:
* Remote participation and proxy assignment;
* Submitting votes before and/or voting during the general meeting;
* Secure (multifactor) identification of shareholders and their representatives;
* Information about meetings, agenda items and management proposals is easily reachable;
* Full track record of assigned proxies (chain of proxies) and cast votes;
* Online/realtime access to voting results;
* Data is saved in an immutable ledger;
* Transparency and auditability of voting results for listed companies; and
* The end-to-end management of general meetings from announcement to results.
Among the benefits to CSDs, exchanges and market infrastructures are:
* Reduced complexity through end-to-end general meeting administration in a single solution — from notification and material distribution to voting management and reporting at the general meeting;
* Enhanced insight through real-time data access to securities holders, holdings and votes and ability to view full voting history on a single account;
* Safety, security and speed benefits of leveraging blockchain technology with a fully auditable view of actions recorded in the immutable ledger; and
* A standard application programme interface (API).