Citi deploys digital proxy voting platform in Australia

Citi has deployed in Australia its Proxymity voting platform, in collaboration with Computershare, which is expected to boost digital proxy voting by institutional investors. In its first large-scale adoption in Australia in late 2019, Proxymity was employed for 561 Australian shareholder meetings with votes covering AUD$86 billion ($58bn) shares being performed across the platform.

The near-real time speed of the platform compares with the traditional manual, often paper-based, process that can involve many separate steps, including share registries, sub-custodian, global custodian and the investor’s designated voting agent. The platform recorded vote transmission times of as low as 27.5 seconds for European investors that voted via the ISS ProxyExchange Platform.

In addition, the Proxymity Platform provides the capability for a company to see detail on the beneficial owner of the shares voted rather than just the custodian. This is a significant enhancement to the voting process, enabling companies to see which investors voted their shares.

Citi and Computershare found that institutions that used the Proxymity Platform for voting benefited from three or more additional days to research AGMs, determine their intentions and cast their votes when compared to the existing process.

Ian Matheson, CEO of the Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA), said in a statement: “Shareholder voting is a crucial pillar of the governance process and one where speed and accuracy are paramount. Proxymity has the potential to remove many of the processing pain-points traditionally experienced around AGMs, and will bring greater transparency and efficiency to how companies interact with their institutional holders and vice versa.”

Citi completed pilots in Belgium and The Netherlands in 2019, which form part of Proxymity’s strategic rollout of the platform in EU markets impacted by the SDR II regulations once they are enforced later this year.

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