Banco Santander, S.A. (BME:SAN) and global fintech Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: BR) announced on Thursday they have completed a first practical use of blockchain for investor voting at an annual general meeting (AGM). The duo, in collaboration with J.P. Morgan and Northern Trust as custodian banks, conducted the pilot on March 23rd for Santander’s annual general meeting (AGM), with participation from Banco Santander Corporate Services as the issuer’s agent and Santander’s blockchain lab.
“The pilot was run in parallel to the AGM, with blockchain being utilized to produce a “shadow” digital register of the proxy voting taking place in the traditional model. The co-collaboration model was extended to additional global custodians participating during the Santander AGM.”
The companies also confirmed that the ability to confirm votes to final investors anticipates the updated European Directive on Shareholder Rights that will come into force in June 2019, which will require sharing information among intermediaries on the same business day. Patricia Rosch, president of Investor Communication Solutions, International at Broadridge, stated:
“The successful completion of a second pilot along with the next phase of our blockchain-based proxy voting solution demonstrates Broadridge’s continued commitment to developing innovative technology solutions in the re-imagination and improvement of global proxy to help our clients get ahead of today’s challenges. As a key innovator in capital markets and a leader in proxy, we continue to implement the newest technologies such as blockchain to improve corporate governance and address the latest regulatory requirements such as the Shareholder Rights Directive.”
Sergio Gámez, global head of Shareholders and Investor Relations at Banco Santander, added:
“The Annual General Meeting is one of the most important corporate governance events for any listed company. In the case of Santander, having very fragmented capital, it is very important to ensure the participation by investors and shareholders, and this year using blockchain technology for the institutional vote has been a great help in terms of transparency and agility across the vote lifecycle.”