Global transfer agent Computershare is working on a pilot programme with Proxymity and a select group of issuers, custodians and institutional investors to simulate how end-to-end vote confirmations improve communications and transparency in the voting process for all.
The pilot is one of two that Computershare has confirmed its support for, with the other an industry-led pilot intended to deliver end-to-end vote confirmations during the AGMs of Fortune 500 companies this spring.
The pilot follows extensive discussions and cooperation between transfer agents and other members of the SEC-initiated industry working group on implementing end-to-end vote confirmation, which is led jointly by the Society of Corporate Governance and the Council of Institutional Investors.
The aim is to achieve the dual purpose of improving transparency of voting for investors and issuers, while increasing confidence in the beneficial shareholder voting process.
Computershare said that extending confirmations more broadly across the industry will provide beneficial shareholders with proof that their votes were cast at the AGM in accordance with their instructions or rejected by the tabulator because of an irregularity.
As part of the overall Fortune 500 pilot programme, industry parties have also agreed to conduct an early-stage entitlement reconciliation pilot, enabling brokers to compare their records with a tabulator before the proxy vote.
Participating banks and brokers will seek to reconcile their investor clients’ aggregate voting positions to discrete voting entitlements that may be reflected directly and indirectly in the tabulator’s voting register.
This sub-pilot is being conducted with 20 companies during the 2022 AGM season.
Computershare noted that without a semi or fully automated solution for early-stage entitlement transfers, a significant administrative burden would likely shift to the vote tabulators and their issuer clients.
“We look forward to taking part in both pilots and will continue to push for positive improvements to the overall voting system, including the development of an automated, systematic approach to confirm changes to bank and broker voting entitlements after the record date for voting,” said Paul Conn, president of global capital markets at Computershare.