Euroclear Sweden has launched a new digital service allowing shareholders to electronically cast a postal vote prior to a General Meeting.
The launch of the service coincides with a new Swedish law allowing listed companies to hold General Meetings with retained shareholder influence without the shareholders having to be physically present at the meeting.
Shareholders will be able to place their votes digitally ahead of the meetings and can use BankID verification on Euroclear Sweden’s website to send their postal vote to the meeting.
The service could stand to be a valuable example for other companies across the world that are set to hold their own Annual General Meetings (AGMs) but are challenged to do so due to the enforced lockdown.
“Swedish limited companies are actively working to protect their shareholders during the COVID-19 pandemic. By launching a digital voting service, we are enabling shareholders to actively participate in General Meetings without needing to be there in person,” said Michael Carty, CEO of Euroclear Sweden.
The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is encouraging both regulators and securities services providers to rethink core, paper-based asset servicing processes and how they can be digitalised.
In March, the government of Luxembourg also introduced temporary measures enabling shareholder meetings and meetings of management bodies to take place in digital form.
Post-trade commentators have frequently highlighted the inefficiencies in current proxy voting and corporate actions processes, due to its manual and paper-based nature, as well as the number of intermediaries involved.
Earlier this week Citi spun out its digital proxy voting platform, Proxymity, after securing $20.5 million in funding from a consortium of global and sub-custodians and issuers which included BNY Mellon, HSBC, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, State Street and Clearstream.
“Proxymity represents an important step towards eliminating manual tasks in the investor communications industry and as a result removing inefficiencies and errors from services, such as proxy voting,” said Thilo Derenbach, head of European custody product, Clearstream.