Proxymity launches consortium of financial industry leaders and raises $20.5 million in strategic round to become its own entity
Proxymity welcomes eight investors, including BNY Mellon, Citi, Clearstream, Computershare, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, and State Street.
Proxymity, developed by Citi, to become an independent entity based in London.
Proxymity to leverage new capital to scale the platform and team, build out its investor communications platform, and expand its services to a wider client base and geography.
London, UK (May 5, 2020) – ProxymitySM, the digital investor communications platform developed within Citi’s Institutional Clients Group, announced today that it has raised $20.5 million in a strategic round of investment and will form its own entity via a global, industry-led consortium. The consortium brings together the leading global and direct custodians and the leading issuer agents ensuring unparalleled, instant access to the world’s leading investors and companies. BNY Mellon, Citi, Clearstream, Computershare, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, and State Street comprise the newly formed Proxymity consortium.
These global institutions are committed to delivering Proxymity’s vision of enhancing the investor communications ecosystem and providing significant benefits to the global market. Proxymity’s pioneering services include a real-time and fully transparent electronic proxy voting platform, which is especially valuable amid current remote working arrangements. The platform provides post-meeting vote confirmation and gives investors up to nine more days per meeting to research and vote. Proxymity also offers a shareholder disclosure platform, which automates shareholder ID requests in industry compliant formats without the need for any manual intervention. Given upcoming regulatory changes, these features position Proxymity as an ideal solution to aid financial institutions and compliance teams around the world.
With this investment and commitment from the consortium, Proxymity will significantly scale its platform offerings so that it can deliver its services to a wider client base and across a broad range of geographic markets. The Proxymity team will be based in London. Co-founders Dean Little and Jonathan Smalley, who have over 30 years of combined industry experience in custody product development, have been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, respectively.
“We’re extremely proud of what Proxymity has achieved so far within Citi since we developed the platform in 2017. To date, Proxymity has supported over 3,000 shareholder meetings and, after successful pilots, we’ve fully launched the platform in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Australia, as well as a pilot in Spain,” said Dean Little, CEO and Co-Founder of Proxymity. “The establishment of this strong consortium is a vote of confidence in Proxymity’s future and overall vision and we look forward to growing the team and suite of products to deliver Proxymity to more institutions around the world.”
Little and Smalley formulated the idea for Proxymity while working in Citi’s Equities and Securities Services (ESS) Custody Product group through an ESS-sponsored innovation program. As the idea for the platform evolved, Citi’s Innovation Lab network and D10XSM program, an internal strategic growth process that nurtures the development and launch of business solutions across Citi’s businesses, helped Proxymity iterate and evaluate its vision to improve the proxy voting system. The platform was first launched in the UK in 2018.
“Proxymity exemplifies the power of innovation that comes from within a global institution like Citi and the pace at which we can drive change at scale,” shared Emily Turner, Head of Innovation & Business Development, Citi Institutional Clients Group. “Because of Dean and Jon’s deep expertise and understanding of the problems issuers and investors face, Citi immediately saw the potential for Proxymity and we were excited to support the development of this platform.”
“In order to truly improve the proxy voting process, it was always our intention to expand Proxymity so that it meets the needs of the industry,” explained Jonathan Smalley, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Proxymity. “We are thrilled to welcome an exceptional group of partners who understand Proxymity’s opportunity to meaningfully improve investor communications. Taking the platform into consortium ownership means we will have unparalleled ability to scale and leverage each of our partner’s unique role in the industry.”
With this new capital and support from the consortium, Proxymity will scale and grow rapidly across the globe. Its immediate focus will be the EU markets ahead of the forthcoming SRDII implementation. Given regulatory changes and new challenges presented to companies because of the COVID-19 crisis, Proxymity’s ability to connect stakeholders directly and digitally in real-time will help issuers, intermediaries, and investors who are looking for a seamless solution to achieve compliance. Proxymity will also work globally to help companies effectively and efficiently provide a solution to their shareholder identification process.
In addition to a commercial team based in London, Proxymity will maintain a technology and R & D team in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Comments from Consortium Members:
James Slater, Global Head of Business Solutions, BNY Mellon Asset Servicing
“As an industry-led platform, Proxymity will increase transparency and create efficiencies in the proxy voting and shareholder disclosure process. We are very supportive of complementary digital solutions that can be integrated through our open-architecture platform, and look forward to not only helping to shape Proxymity’s future, but that of the industry as a whole.”
Chris Cox, Managing Director, EMEA Equity & Security Services Head, Citi
“Proxymity is a genuinely innovative and unique platform with capabilities that fundamentally redesign anachronistic processes to deliver an enterprise-ready technology that offers investors and corporates genuine transparency and value for their money. It’s been a privilege to work with Dean and Jon over the last three years to bring Proxymity to life and I’m delighted at the breadth and strength of the partners that have chosen to co-invest to support Proxymity’s next evolution. The Consortium’s shared enthusiasm says a lot about what Proxymity can achieve, both in terms of new market coverage and new product development like SRDII services.”
Thilo Derenbach, Head of European Custody Product, 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. Clearstream supports this market initiative together with leading market participants to increase efficiency and transparency in the custody chain, improving market development and client experience for European investors and beyond.”
Paul Conn, President, Global Capital Markets, Computershare
“Having collaborated effectively with Citi and the Proxymity team from the very early stages of the idea, through the initial MVP and market testing, we’re equally excited by the broad and deep interest in this ‘spin-out’ transaction. Through a shared vision, trust and effective collaboration, it has already been possible to launch the platform in Australia and the U.K. markets and foresee the global potential for this market-wide innovation. We’re proud to be a founding partner in the consortium. Proxymity will bring benefits to not just our corporate clients around the world, but to many of their investors globally, and to the industry as a whole.”
Michaela Ludbrook, Head of Securities Services, Deutsche Bank
“We are very excited to be partnering on this initiative. Since custodians are the natural conduit of real-time information between issuers and investors, Deutsche Bank welcomes initiatives that are designed to foster more efficient capital markets and supports tools such as Proxymity. By providing services such as a fully transparent proxy voting platform, Proxymity is one way of bringing STP to the important area of voters’ rights and the long-term stability of the companies in which these voters invest.”
Jane Karczewski, Head of Global Custody, HSBC Securities Services
“Proxymity is perfectly aligned with HSBC’s data and digital innovation strategy. The platform and architecture reduces operational inefficiencies and will enhance the service we can offer clients through real-time digital data transfers. The real-time speed to market of voting and shareholder information across the full Custody network complements our One Custody Programme, bringing our clients closer to market.”
Chris Rowland, Global Head of Custody, J.P. Morgan
“Proxymity has an opportunity to re-engineer the way investor communications works by automating proxy voting and eliminating the manual processes of old. Together, we will leverage the speed and efficiency of its underlying technology and ensure it achieves scale through industry partnership.”
Akbar Sheriff, Head of Global Custody, State Street
“State Street is excited to conclude this investment and we look forward to working with the broader Proxymity team to unlock many exciting use cases on behalf of our clients. Being a member of this consortium will not only benefit our firm’s custody offering but may also yield advantages for our Charles River clients through well-defined integration to our front-to-back platform, State Street AlphaSM.”