Broadridge Financial Solutions and Euroclear have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) whereby both firms are looking into forming an alliance to jointly strengthen shareholders’ governance rights by making it easier for investors to vote electronically at company general meetings.
Under the EU Shareholders’ Rights Directive, currently being transposed into Member State law, investors must have timely access to information relating to general meetings and the facilities to exercise their voting rights. The objective of the proposed alliance between Euroclear and Broadridge is to support the new regulatory landscape by offering an end to end voting solution for issuers and their agents, financial intermediaries and investors.
The services to be offered by the proposed alliance are expected to cover securities issued in certain countries where Euroclear has a central securities depository (CSD) beginning with listed equities in the Dutch market, ahead of the annual general meeting season in the first quarter of 2011.
Pierre Mahieu, director, Euroclear product management, stated: “Our alliance with Broadridge aims to deliver a faster and more efficient means for shareholders – domestic or foreign – to vote at general meetings. Together, we will look to improve processing standards and automation levels for the voting process, in full accordance with stakeholder needs. We recognise the call for, and importance of, proper company governance, and have identified how we can play a more active role in alliance with Broadridge. Euroclear’s close relationship with European issuers and local market shareholders, coupled with Broadridge’s international reach and leading-edge voting technologies, make a compelling choice for voting services.”
James O’Regan, general manager, Investor Communication Solutions, International, Broadridge, said: “Through this alliance, Broadridge and Euroclear are uniquely positioned to accelerate the delivery of advanced electronic solutions to the benefit of all constituents throughout the proxy vote processing lifecycle. We are strong advocates of the underlying EU market reforms to raise governance and better enfranchise the end investor, and our alliance is geared to delivering a highly efficient, best-practice model across designated markets.”
The proposed joint Euroclear/Broadridge offering, on an exclusive basis in certain markets, will include: disseminating general meeting information; managing pre-meeting registration for shareholders (where applicable); making available the technology to collect voting instructions from shareholders; transmitting voting instructions to issuers; performing integrity checks on voting instructions; providing vote confirmation of exercised votes; and eliminating many manual procedures involved in the voting process today.